Color challenges in navigating autonomous vehicles

Electronic Imaging Conference 2020 - Dietmar Wueller

Download full article as PDF: EIC2020_color_challenges.pdf


Will autonomous vehicles ever be able to drive around safely? In Germany lane markers on streets are white. In construction zones temporary markers are installed on top of the standard ones that are yellow and they direct the traffic e.g. into shifted lanes. So, the only differentiation is the color. But what about the white markers at times close to the sunset? Then we drive into Austria and the temporary markers are turning orange. Or driving in the US makes the whole country a construction zone because markers are always yellow. Automotive cameras are often times not RGB cameras. They have other color filters to maximize sensitivity, which often times does not help differentiating colors.

So does the spectral reflectance matter? Which impact does the illumination have? And there are many different ones like daylight at different times of the day, different kinds of streetlights, different headlights of the cars etc. Traffic signs create another color problem. We drive from Switzerland to France. In Switzerland the freeway signs are green and the major road signs are blue. When you cross the French border, it is the other way around. How can these problems be solved?