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Application 20180211121
Ford Motor Company

Detecting Vehicles In Low Light Conditions

The present invention extends to methods, systems, and computer program products for detecting vehicles in low light conditions. Cameras are used to obtain RGB images of the environment around a vehicle. RGB images are converted to LAB images. The "A" channel is filtered to extract contours from LAB images. The contours are filtered based on their shapes/sizes to reduce false positives from contours unlikely to correspond to vehicles. A neural network classifies an object as a vehicle or non-vehicle based the contours. Accordingly, aspects provide reliable autonomous driving with lower cost sensors and improved aesthetics. Vehicles can be detected at night as well as in other low light conditions using their head lights and tail lights, enabling autonomous vehicles to better detect other vehicles in their environment. Vehicle detections can be facilitated using a combination of virtual data, deep learning, and computer vision.

Average Length Specification


1 Independent Claims

  • Claim 1. A method for detecting another vehicle in a vehicle environment, comprising: converting an RGB frame to an LAB framefiltering an "A" channel of the LAB frame by at least one threshold value to obtain at least one thresholded LAB imageextracting at least one contour from the at least one thresholded LAB imageand classifying, by a neural network, the at least one contour as another vehicle within the environment of the vehicle.
  • Claim 10. A vehicle, the vehicle comprising: one or more processorssystem memory coupled to one or more processors, the system memory storing instructions that are executable by the one or more processorsone or more cameras for capturing images of an environment around the vehicle the vehiclea neural network for determining if contours detected in the environment around the vehicle are other vehiclesand the one or more processors executing the instructions stored in the system memory to detect another vehicle in a low light environment around the vehicle, including the following: receive a Red, Green, Blue (RGB) image captured by the one or more cameras, the Red, Green, Blue (RGB) image of the low light environment around the vehicleconvert the Red, Green, Blue (RGB) image to an LAB color space imagefilter an "A" channel of the LAB image by one or more threshold values to obtain at least one thresholded LAB imageextract a contour from the at least one thresholded LAB image based on the size and shape of the contourand classify the contour as another vehicle within the low light environment around the vehicle based on an affinity to a vehicle classification determined by the neural network.
  • Claim 17. A method for use at a vehicle, the method for detecting another vehicle in a low light environment around the vehicle, the method comprising: receiving a Red, Green, Blue (RGB) image captured by one or more cameras at the vehicle, the Red, Green, Blue (RGB) image of the low light environment around the vehicleconverting the Red, Green, Blue (RGB) image to an LAB color space imagefiltering an "A" channel of the LAB image by at least one threshold value to obtain at least one thresholded LAB imageextracting a contour from the thresholded LAB image based on the size and shape of the contourand classifying the contour as another vehicle within the low light environment around the vehicle based on an affinity to a vehicle classification determined by a neural network.