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Continental adds worker detection and invisible chassis features to surround view camera system

An excavator's camera system detects nearby workers
Continental has added new features for the ProViu 360 surround view camera system. Source: Continental

Continental will present new features for its ProViu 360 surround view system at bauma 2022. Equipped with a worker detection feature, the ProViu 360 system classifies a detected object near a construction machine as a person and warns of possible collisions. The Transparent Chassis feature offers visibility for machines with projecting superstructures. Another new feature is the Clean Camera Assistant which detects dirty or blocked camera lenses an alerts the operator. All three new features are based on Continental's passenger car development algorithms.

The construction and mining sectors have two benefits: manufacturers and contractors can access the latest automotive technologies while their hardware setups remain unchanged

"Digitalization will play a major role in the construction and mining sectors of the future - it enables more safety, efficiency and comfort for everyone involved," says Dr. Ismail Dagli, head of the smart mobility business area at Continental. "Thanks to our new ProViu 360 functions, we're taking yet another step towards the construction site of the future."

Every year, more than 100,000 accidents occur on Germany's construction sites – and that number includes those that occur due to cramped working conditions and complex construction machines with many blind spots.

"We [Continental] believe we must provide construction machine operators with a better overview of their surroundings and eliminate the many blind spots," says Chris Meissner, head of product management for special vehicles in the automotive aftermarket business segment at Continental.

The images taken by four cameras with HDR (high dynamic range) and a resolution of 1.3 megapixels with a viewing angle of up to 194 degrees are combined in the control unit. This is achieved using an algorithm to create a perfect view of the vehicle from a bird's eye perspective.

Automatic warning of workers in the danger zone

A new worker detection feature has been added to Continental's ProViu 360-degree surround view. With the help of an algorithm specially adapted to the conditions of a construction site, persons who are near the construction machine can be detected, preventing accidents and collisions. In collaboration with a large OEM, this algorithm was "taught" the specific differences between a road scenario and the situation on a construction site: stones, gravel, and sand instead of smooth, gray asphalt surfaces; metal parts, concrete blocks, and wooden pallets instead of clear lanes; persons in bulky overalls, helmets, and fluttering high-visibility vests instead of contrasting outlines that are easily distinguishable from the background. As a result, the ProViu 360 system can detect persons located close to the machine.

Cameras display a warning if their lenses are dirty

The second new feature alerts the driver if a camera is dirty or blocked and the system can no longer provide all the necessary information.

"At first glance, this looks like a rather low-key idea," says Chris Meissner. "However, during a dirty and tiring working day, a digital systems must offer practical support. That's why we made the programming effort and can now provide the construction and mining industries with that specific hands-on support for productivity and safety."

An invisible chassis visibility feature

Another feature that can offer great added value on construction sites is Continental's Transparent Chassis for construction machines with projecting superstructures. The front-mounted camera films the area in front of the vehicle and sends the images to the control unit. The system then displays the images in relation to the vehicle's steering angle and speed, enabling a view "through" the vehicle for the operator, despite a lack of front visibility.

Autocalibration helps reduce implementation time

The latest feature of ProViu 360 is a software function that is particularly helpful for the industrialization of machines manufactured in small production runs. Autocalibration significantly shortens the implementation time for ProViu camera systems in production. Instead of requiring manual calibration of the ProViu camera system for optimal visibility, a software algorithm detects a pattern around the vehicle. It determines the best calibration settings for each vehicle within seconds, reducing calibration time by several minutes per vehicle. The autocalibration function also guarantees repeatable results.

"At this point, it's essential that we identify the different usage scenarios where our new features can assist," says Chris Meissner. "This is how manufacturers of construction and mining machinery can benefit from ProViu 360 as a platform. Once the hardware has been installed, future functions can also be used quickly, increasing safety on the construction site."

"Our goal is to give the off-highway sector access now to the digital technologies that will assist them in their specific situations," says Dr. Ismail Dagli. "This also includes driver assistance systems applications."

Visitors to the Continental booth at bauma (Hall C5, Booth 403) will see the ProViu 360 system in action with its new features.

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