Ford Motor has patented a method to estimate the relative position of objects around a vehicle using a two-dimensional camera image. The control unit determines object contours, digital templates, and compares them to determine the object’s position. This innovation enhances vehicle safety and navigation systems. GlobalData’s report on Ford Motor gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Ford Motor, Hydrogen fuel cells was a key innovation area identified from patents. Ford Motor's grant share as of January 2024 was 61%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Method for determining relative position of object using camera image

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Ford Motor Co

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11887336B2) discloses a method for determining the relative position of an object in the surroundings of a vehicle. The method involves using a two-dimensional camera image to determine the object contour, back-projecting it into a three-dimensional virtual space, and positioning digital object templates at predefined positions inside a virtual frustum. By forward projecting these templates onto the camera image, 2D contour proposals are generated and compared with the object contour to select the best-fit proposal. The relative position of the object is then determined based on the selected proposal.

Furthermore, the patent details the use of digital object templates representing specific object types, sizes, and orientations, along with a predefined matching criterion for selecting the best-fit contour proposal. The method also incorporates an artificial neural network for enhancing the matching between the proposal and the object contour. An electronic control unit for a vehicle, as described in the patent, executes these instructions to determine the object contour, compare contour proposals, and calculate the relative position of the object. The patent also extends to a motor vehicle equipped with a two-dimensional camera and the electronic control unit, along with a driver assistance system that utilizes the relative position of the object for vehicle control based on the patent's methodology.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.