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New idea for backup camera parking lines

The lack of parking lines overlaying the backup camera image has been discussed in the forums ad nauseam. The consensus seems to be that it may not be possible to use software to overlay lines on the video image due to the hardware in the Model S.

In trying to "think outside the box" I was wondering if a small laser projector could be used to project lines onto the ground that would be visible on the screen.

This would have the advantage of correcting for the distortion created by the camera lens. The lines would convey the distances more accurately since they are projected onto the actual surface.

It would use very little power and could be connected to the reverse lights so that the lines are only projected when in reverse.

There have been some products for bicyclists that use this approach.

http://www.gizmag.com/lumigrids-led-projector/27691/
http://www.gizmag.com/xfire-bike-lane-safety-light/24282/
http://www.gizmag.com/blaze-bicycle-laser-safety-device/18886/

If this has been suggested before, I apologize. I tried to go through all of the previous threads on this topic and that quickly became rather tedious.

Thoughts?

This is the first I've heard of this suggestion - clever!

Not sure how well it would work in sunlight, but at night it seems plausible. The best in camera "line" systems also adjust based on the steering angle, but for some, any lines is better than none.

The bright green laser pointers that have been available for the last few years are definitely visible in sunlight. Whether they can be used for this purpose, I don't know.

That's a very clever idea. It would be easy to implement, too, although I think the NHTSA would have to sign off on any external lighting, especially lasers.

I believe Audi's laser headlights aren't available here for exactly that reason, rather like the Model X "camera mirrors".

I can imagine that there would be concerns about the light reflecting off of something on the ground or a chrome bumper and being directed towards someone, possibly interfering with their vision.

I might experiment with a couple of laser pointers

+1 PBEndo,
Sounds like a good patent idea that could be shared!

Just make sure there are no airplanes behind you when backing up. FAA would probably make a visit.

Perhaps the FAA would prefer that you have the lines to help prevent backing into a plane ;)

...or at least warn the pilots to stop tailgating...

They're too conditioned to O'Hare to heed the warning.

I experimented with a laser level that I (miraculously) found in my garage. It displays a line that works perfectly but it is not bright enough for daytime use.

Now that IS a clever idea. It would be cool if they could tie it in and show the project path based on steering angle too, but even straight guidelines would be welcome. As you say, there are other laser projection systems, laser keyboards, etc. I don't see why this shouldn't be possible.

these are used industrially to show where parts or composite plies go. they are called overhead laser projectors. however they are fairly large, about the size of a mailbox.

The links show devices small enough to fit on a bike

Lasers are cool, but seeing as retrofitting cars with things like parking sensors have been on the expensive side. I think a software update would seem like the best option.

I know Tesla has said that it isn't possible with the current hardware. But really? I'm not saying I don't believe that the supplier of the backup camera said, it isn't possible for them to do it with the current production hardware. That doesn't change the fact that... It is incredibly easy to overlay some lines in the frame buffer on virtually any hardware before it is displayed. This is literally two calls to an API (typically graphics hardware). This could be done with literally imperceptible performance impact. Curved lines based on the direction of the steering wheel and a gradient are only a few more calculations and perhaps a couple of setup calls away...

The difficulty is not in what to do, but where to hook in to do it. I could of course be wrong on how easy this should be to do, it does depend somewhat on the how open the platform is. I'm assuming that the difficulty is in the camera writing directly to the frame buffer without callbacks. This would require the hook to be done on graphics API side. Sure would be fun to hack on...

@CRASCH I know Tesla has said that it isn't possible with the current hardware.

To my knowledge Tesla has never confirmed this.

Using invisible frequencies, and make the camera sensitive to a notch in the right range?

Brian
I was thinking of this as a possible workaround for existing hardware limitations (if they truly exist)
If they redesign the camera to make it sensitive to a certain wavelength, they might as well go with the software overlay that every other manufacturer uses.

Good idea, but the laser lines won't not be visible at all during the day time, and would still require mounting additional hardware and wiring.

i think Tesla should just charge a fee to add the necessary hardware to make parking guides available for those of us who wants it.

@mikefa
There are consumer level lasers that are visible in daylight and the wiring would be minimal since it could tap into or replace the existing reverse light fixture.

However, I still agree. My idea is a stretch, born from desperation. The best result would be if Tesla would implement the standard approach, software overlayed lines that move with steering input.

Guys the rear camera in use is unique. I can't speak to it, but knowledgeable people have been trying to figure out features of that same camera. You might want to go over to TMC and read the long thread about putting a front camera on a MS.

akikiki - the camera does appear to be a unique piece of hardware, but some have still suggested that the problem is in the computer hardware/graphics capabilities, not the camera itself. I don't know much about it myself.


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