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New panoramic 360-degree parking camera unveiled

Published: 18 November 2008

Having trouble parking? Japanese manufacturer Fujitsu has announced the world’s first 360-degree camera for cars, giving drivers a panoramic view of what’s around them.

It’s a slightly controversial claim, as Nissan showed a similar system in 2007, but Fujitsu says its new camera has various technical firsts.

So it’s a jumped-up reversing camera?

Essentially, yes. But Fujitsu claims that current rear-view camera systems don’t offer a full view of what’s behind and are let down by significant blindspots. Its new system shows the driver a full perspective model – so they see a ‘real’ 360deg view of the world that’s far easier to interpret. Drivers can choose the perspective, from bird’s-eye to a ground-level view of the outside of the car – so they can easily spot pedestrians, other cars or a low wall.

Anything else?

Fujitsu claims its system not only assists during parking, but could also work at higher speeds – eliminating blind spots when joining a motoway, for instance.

A super-fast processing time of 30 milliseconds makes the system virtually real time.

How does it work?

It’s all down to clever software. Other camera systems simply beam several clunky, distorted videos back to the driver which display as a series of views on the console. Fujitsu claims its software interprets the images it ‘sees’ and reinterprets it into a new picture. Video from four cameras is overlaid with a perspective 3D plane grid to create a virtual 3D video of the car in its surroundings.

This whizzy software then creates a series of perspective views for the driver. It then makes a smooth transition between views by combining various sightlines – meaning the driver can easily re-orientate himself when the view changes.

Will it happen?

Fujitsu plan to introduce various elements of the system to the car industry in the coming years and is talking to various manufacturers. It would, naturally, help drivers of big, articulated lorries too…