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AV group co-organized ACM CSCS’18

The Augmented Vision Group of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) co-organized the 2. ACM Computer Science in Cars Symposium 2018 (CSCS’18). CSCS is an annual symposium aiming to create bridges between academic research on the one hand and practitioners from the automotive industry on the other. The two days event combined a single track program with invited keynotes, academic oral presentations, poster presentations and a panel discussion. The symposium provided a platform for industry and academia to exchange ideas and meet these future challenges jointly. The focus of the 2018 symposium was Artificial Intelligence & Security for Autonomous Vehicles.

In the panel discussion the current challenges of Artificial Intelligence for ASAS and Autonomous Vehicles were discussed with experts in this domain. Amongst others the validation of AI systems, the required vision sensor setup and training data, user acceptance, legal challenges, and many more were discussed. The panel was moderated by the AV-member Dr. Oliver Wasenmüller.

CSCS panel discussion: Dr. Oliver Wasenmüller (Team Leader Machine Vision, DFKI), Georg Kuschk (Team Leader Machine Learning, Astyx), Karl Leiss (CEO, BIT-TS), Prof. Dr. Christoph Sorge (Professor Legal Informatics, UdS), Prof. Dr. Christoph Stiller (Director Institute MRT, KIT), Dr. Shervin Raafatnia (AI Validation Engineer, Bosch).

CSCS panel discussion: Dr. Oliver Wasenmüller (Team Leader Machine Vision, DFKI), Georg Kuschk (Team Leader Machine Learning, Astyx), Karl Leiss (CEO, BIT-TS), Prof. Dr. Christoph Sorge (Professor Legal Informatics, UdS), Prof. Dr. Christoph Stiller (Director Institute MRT, KIT), Dr. Shervin Raafatnia (AI Validation Engineer, Bosch).

Augmented Vision department awarded as „Ausgezeichnete Orte im Land der Ideen“

The Augmented Vision department of DFKI was honored as one of the 100 innovative award winners of the competition “Ausgezeichnete Orte im Land der Ideen – Excellent Places in the Country of Ideas” in Berlin on June 4th 2018 during a ceremony in Berlin.

An independent jury selected the projects from almost 1,500 submitted applications. A certificate signed by the Federal President as well as a panel of honor will make the award visible. According to the annual motto “Connecting Worlds – Strengthening Cohesion”, the Augmented Vision department shows how innovations emerge in research and explore “AI for humans”. The department researches on different application areas of Computer Vision, such as Augmented Reality, Medicine and Automotive. The jury highlighted the project “Alter Ego” as particularly praiseworthy in which a digital twin helps patients with social disorders to improve their communication skills.

Dr. Oliver Wasenmüller received the award in Berlin representative for the department Augmented Vision. (credits: Deutschland – Land der Ideen/Bernd Brundert)

Dr. Oliver Wasenmüller received the award in Berlin representative for the department Augmented Vision. (credits: Deutschland – Land der Ideen/Bernd Brundert)

New project DAKARA started

Low-cost, extremely small and energy-efficient: New camera matrix provides precise depth images for automated driving and industrial applications

It is no bigger than a 1-cent piece: a new, ultra-compact and adaptive camera, which, in addition to pictures, also delivers accurate depth information in real-time. As a novel sensor, it offers a wide range of applications in the area of automated driving or manual assembly processes. The system is developed in the project “DAKARA” – design and application of an ultra-compact, energy-efficient and configurable camera matrix for spatial analysis. In the project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), five partners from industry and research work together.

The camera matrix consists of sixteen square-shaped single cameras, which together function not only as an imaging device, but also as a depth camera. They are arranged on a so-called “wafer”, an approximately 1 millimeter thick structure of polycrystalline semiconductor blanks. The new camera technology comes from AMS Sensors Germany GmbH. With their technology, the camera will not be larger than ten by ten millimeters and about three millimeters thick.

Stephan Voltz, CEO of AMS Sensors Germany, explains the function of the new technology: “The structure as a camera matrix captures the scene from sixteen slightly displaced perspectives in order to calculate the scene geometry (a depth image) using the light field principle. Because such calculations are very high-intensity, an efficient processor is embedded directly into the periphery of the camera matrix to enable real-time applications. ”

The Augmented Vision (AV) research area at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern is developing the algorithms for depth image calculations. They are executed in a real-time manner, directly in the camera system. In addition, various applications can be run on the embedded chip for further processing of the generated image data.

Professor Didier Stricker, Head of the Augmented Vision department at DFKI, said: “The depth information provided by the camera system alongside the color information allows a wide range of new applications. The ultra-compact design makes it possible to integrate the new camera into very small filigree components and use it as a non-contact sensor “.

The structure of the camera matrix is reconfigurable. As a result, a more specific layout can be used, depending on the application, for example a different arrangement of the camera matrix in L-shape. The depth image computation can also be adapted to specific requirements for the depth information.

Cameras that provide depth information already exist. However, these send out light to calculate the depth. Disadvantages are the high energy consumption, the large design and high costs. Other passive systems have much lower energy consumption, but are still in the research stage and generally have large shapes and low image rates.

“The DAKARA camera matrix will be the first passive system to provide both color and depth images in real-time, with high image rates, adaptive features, low energy consumption, and a very compact design,” said Oliver Wasenmüller, DFKI Project Manager and co-initiator of the project. The new system is to be used by well-known users from different domains.

Two application scenarios are used to check and demonstrate the developments of DAKARA: A rear-view camera from the partner ADASENS Automotive GmbH is designed to better interpret the rear vehicle environment. This means that finer structures such as curbs or posts can also be detected during automated parking. In addition, the system is designed to recognize people and send warning signals in an emergency. As a result, a tremendous increase in the safety of automated or partially automated driving can be expected. The Bosch Rexroth AG and DFKI (department Innovative Factory Systems) with the Living Lab SmartFactory KL e.V. will be installing a manual assembly process for the workplace assistant. The camera matrix captures objects as well as the hands of the worker by means of the algorithms of the partner CanControls GmbH. The particular challenge is to clearly distinguish objects such as tools or workpieces from the operator’s hands. The depth information of the DAKARA camera is intended to make this separation easier and more precise.

In the next three years the new camera matrix is to be designed, developed and extensively tested in the mentioned scenarios. A first prototype is to be realized by late summer 2018.

The project “DAKARA” is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the “Photonics Research Germany – Digital Optics” program. The project volume totals 3.8 million euros; almost half of which is generated by the industry partners involved.

For more details, please visit the project page: DAKARA

DAKARA Kick-Off at AMS in Nürnberg. Persons (l.t.r.): Stephan Voltz (AMS), Yuriy Anisimov (DFKI), Benjamin Klimczak (CanControls), Christoph Schiferle (Bosch Rexroth), Alwin Tuschmann (AMS), Oliver Wasenmüller (DFKI), Florian Baumann (ADASENS), Didier Stricker (DFKI), Ariadna Bartra (ADASENS), Martin Geist (Bosch Rexroth), Matthias Möller (Bosch Rexroth), Patrick Bertram (DFKI), Fabian Quint (DFKI)

DAKARA Kick-Off at AMS in Nürnberg.
Persons (l.t.r.): Stephan Voltz (AMS), Yuriy Anisimov (DFKI), Benjamin Klimczak (CanControls), Christoph Schiferle (Bosch Rexroth), Alwin Tuschmann (AMS), Oliver Wasenmüller (DFKI), Florian Baumann (ADASENS), Didier Stricker (DFKI), Ariadna Bartra (ADASENS), Martin Geist (Bosch Rexroth), Matthias Möller (Bosch Rexroth), Patrick Bertram (DFKI), Fabian Quint (DFKI)

AV-Forscher auf 4. Software Campus Summit feierlich verabschiedet

Nach dem erfolgreichen Abschluss seines Software Campus Projekts BodyAnalyzer wurde Oliver Wasenmüller vom Forschungsbereich Erweiterte Realität des DFKI Kaiserslautern am 27. März 2017 feierlich als Absolvent des Software Campus Programms verabschiedet. Oliver Wasenmüller stellte sein, in Kooperation mit der SIEMENS AG entstandenes Projekt BodyAnalyzer, Erfassung und Analyse von 3D Körpermodellen, in einer Abschlusspräsentation auf dem 4. Software Campus Summit in Berlin vor, bevor er von Prof. Dr. Wahlster und Dr. Harald Schöning, Leiter Forschung der Software AG, verabschiedet wurde.

Der Software Campus sucht herausragende Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden der Informatik sowie informatiknaher Disziplinen mit großem Interesse an Führungsaufgaben in der Wirtschaft oder Unternehmensgründung. Insgesamt 18 Partner aus Industrie und Forschung unterstützen das Führungskräfteentwicklungsprogramm, das vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) gefördert wird. Die Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer setzen im Software Campus ihr eigenes IT-Projekt um. Sie managen den gesamten Prozess ihres IT-Projekts selbständig mit Unterstützung der Forschungs- und Industriepartner: von der Projektplanung über die Beantragung finanzieller Mittel und das Management, die Koordination des eigenen Forscher-Teams bis zum Abschluss des Vorhabens. Jedes Projekt wird mit bis zu 100.000 Euro über die Projektlaufzeit gefördert. Darüber hinaus wird im Rahmen des Software Campus das vorhandene Potenzial der Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer gezielt gefördert. Die Industriepartner des Software Campus bringen in das Programm ihre besten Führungskräftetrainings ein. Die Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer können in sechs Modulen ihre Führungs-, Methoden- sowie Sozial- und Selbstkompetenzen weiterentwickeln.

Wir gratulieren Herrn Wasenmüller recht herzlich zur Aufnahme in den Software Campus sowie zum erfolgreichen Abschluss seines eigenen Forschungsprojekts BodyAnalyzer.

Oliver Wasenmüller (li.) erhält die Urkunde von Prof. Dr. W. Wahlster

Oliver Wasenmüller (li.) erhält die Abschluss-Urkunde von Prof. Dr. W. Wahlster (Quelle: Software Campus/M. Braumann)