Vehicle camera watches the road for stray pedestrians

Mobileye $900 collision detection camera can warn up to 2.7 seconds ahead of an impending collision

Mobileye Products has added a pedestrian alert feature to its collision prevention device, warning drivers up to 2.7 seconds prior to a possible accident.

The company's engineers have developed algorithms that are used to analyze photos taken 15 times per second by the C2-270 device, said Ilan Yavor, marketing and communications manager.

The camera of the C2-270 mounts on the inside of a vehicle's windshield, and the visual and audio alert piece mounts on the dashboard.

The processor inside the device determines by shape what the object in the road is, whether it is a pedestrian, cyclist or motorbike. "We are basically teaching the little computer how to recognize these objects and then determine if there is potential danger there," Yavor said. "The C2-270 will then issue audio and visual warnings, giving drivers enough time to avert a collision."

The latest model also incorporate features in older models, including warnings if a driver strays from a lane, a forward collision warning and a warning if a driver follows another vehicle too closely.

Mobileye was started in 1999, and its business was focused on incorporating its collision detection technology inside vehicles in partnership with original equipment manufacturers such as BMW, Volvo and GM. Car manufacturers can wrap the Mobileye's technology within vehicle dashboards.

In 2006, Mobileye started an aftermarket business where consumers or businesses that run vehicle fleets could buy the company's devices from distributors, Yavor said.

"Your mind is going to be off the road for a while when you drive, especially if you're driving long distances, or if you're distracted by something inside or outside of the car," Yavor said. "This system will alert you to a dangerous situations emerging while you're distracted."

Mobileye's C2-270 device will be commercially available after Sept. 23 with the price varying by distributor and quantities ordered. The previous version, the C2-170, sold for around US$900 on average.

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