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Mobileye EyeQ
By Larry Edsall

Mobileye EyeQ EyeQ helps driver keep an eye on the road ahead

Mobileye's EyeQ and the company behind it sound like something out of a James Bond movie, and in some ways they could be: Professors, research scientists and businessmen develop compact new computerized vision technology that gives people if not super-human abilities then at least a significant helping hand in auto safety by alerting a driver to traffic and other road conditions.

Mobileye's EyeQ is a vision image processor-on-a-chip and the key component in a range of new camera-based automotive technologies that started coming to market late in 2006 with an $1,800 aftermarket system designed to warn drivers when they veer out of their lane or when they approach too closely to the traffic ahead.

Mobileye Vision Technologies is based in Israel, where its chairman, Amnon Shashua, was chair of the School of Computer Science and Engineering at Hebrew University and a leader in research in computer vision with an emphasis on "the algebraic and geometric relation between multiple 2D views of 3D scenes." His company and its seeing-eye computer chip have partnered with automotive supplier Magna International Inc. and its Magna Electronics unit to offer a system that can do things such as:

  • based on the detection of approaching traffic, automatically flick between high- and low-beam headlights to enhance the driver’s view of the road at night
  • function as a lane-change warning system (U.S. federal statistics show that of some 35,000 vehicle occupants killed on American roads in a recent year, only 9200 died in intersections but more than 25,000 when their vehicles left the roadway)
  • function as an adaptive cruise control system, maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic ahead to the point of applying your brakes to stop you short of a frontal collision, or even detecting a pedestrian and slowing or stopping your vehicle until the pedestrian has cleared from the roadway

At first, the Mobileye AWS was sold only as a lane-change and traffic-ahead warning system with visual and audio alerts for the driver. To accommodate drivers of varying experience and ability, the system had standard, sporty and cautious driving style settings, each with its own warning threshold.

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