Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Non-manufacturing machine vision opportunity

Way back when I was a child I recall my mother reversing over my brother’s bike, abandoned on the driveway behind her car. Apparently it was my fault because I didn’t tell her – so much for parental justice, eh?

Well if she’d had a backup camera in her car (unheard of in the 1960’s, of course,) the crumpled frame might have been avoided. More importantly, if backup cameras were mandated in every vehicle, it appears that a lot of injuries and fatalities could be avoided. (“Oz Report Suggests Backup Cameras Should be Mandatory” – WardsAuto.com, 6/3/2101.)

Now I realize this is straying from my mission of providing aid to users of machine vision, but I bring it to your attention because it suggests there’s an absolutely huge machine vision opportunity here. Should backup cameras be mandated I imagine it will be the people who make cellphone cameras who will get the business. However, this will just put an image on the dash-mounted screen. What’s needed is some intelligence to analyze the image and warn the driver where there is a potential problem.

That means someone needs to develop an image analysis application specific to this problem and market. (And please don’t tell me we can depend on the phone-using, coffee-drinking driver to actually check the screen, because we know that’s about as reliable as human inspection.)

It also occurs to me that this system needs to work in darkness as well as daylight, so perhaps there’s also a need to build in an IR illuminator.

Some 60 million cars and light trucks are manufactured every year, so this is quite an opportunity.

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