|Established||1996 (initiated 1990)|
VisLab is an Italian company working on computer vision and environmental perception for vehicular applications.
VisLab (i.e. the Artificial Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory) was funded in the early 90s as a research laboratory of University of Parma, Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione.
It started its activities in 1990, with its involvement within the Eureka PROMETHEUS Project. Since then the research group focused on vehicular applications. VisLab is regarded as one of the leading centers for computer vision applied to vehicles.
VisLab, directed by Alberto Broggi, undertakes basic and applied research; the most important field of research is the perception of the surrounding environment in vehicular applications using cameras and fusion with other sensors. Its researchers contribute to fields such as artificial vision, image processing, machine learning, neural networks, robotics, and sensor fusion. The number of researchers at VisLab increased dramatically in the last few years reaching 30 individuals, thanks to many projects with automotive industries, vehicle makers, and suppliers.
In 2009, eleven VisLab researchers started a spinoff company, named VisLab srl, to commercialize the results of their main researches. The University of Parma owned a share of 5%.
In 2015, VisLab was acquired by Silicon Valley company Ambarella Inc., and about 30 researchers were hired by VisLab to staff their Parma location.
VisLab's results are regarded as milestones in the vehicular robotics history. Among them, the ARGO Project and the TerraMax Project. In the early years, the research group formed by Alberto Broggi, Massimo Bertozzi and Alessandra Fascioli designed, realized, and successfully tested ARGO. ARGO was a passenger car able to perceive the environment through the use of microcameras, analyze the surroundings, plan a trajectory, and drive itself on normal roads. It was tested in 1998 with a 2000+ km tour in Italy, dubbed MilleMiglia in Automatico. In this test the vehicle drove for more than 94% in automatic mode. It was the first test in the world to use off-the-shelf and low cost technology (a Pentium 200 MHz PC and two low-cost video-phone cameras) in normal conditions of traffic, environment, and weather. Together with Carnegie Mellon's No Hands Across America and Universität der Bundeswehr's test from Munich to Odense, the MilleMiglia in Automatico is regarded as one of the milestones in vehicular robotics.
In 2005 a vehicle called TerraMax was able to successfully conclude the DARPA Grand Challenge; VisLab's vision system was its primary means of perception. Despite the large vehicle size, the vehicle was able to negotiate different terrains and detect obstacles thanks to an innovative solution based on a trinocular system that was developed by VisLab.
In 2010 VisLab launched VIAC, the VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge, a 13,000 km test run for autonomous vehicles, from Italy to China. This was the first autonomous driving test on an intercontinental route; it lasted three months. All data were logged and used back in laboratory to improve the perception systems.
On July 12, 2013, VisLab tested the BRAiVE vehicle in downtown Parma. BRAiVE successfully negotiating two-way narrow rural roads, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, speed bumps, pedestrian areas, and tight roundabouts. VisLab engineers activated the vehicle in Parma University Campus and stopped it in Piazza della Pilotta (downtown Parma): a 20 minutes run in a real environment, together with real traffic at 11am on a working day, that required absolutely no human intervention.
On March 31, 2014, VisLab unveiled the new autonomous car, whose name is DEEVA, and which features more than 20 cameras, 4 lasers, GPS and IMU, and all sensors are perfectly hidden.
- Official website for VisLab
- Main VisLab Milestones
- "PROUD2013 - Public ROad Urban Driverless Car Test 2013". Vislab.it. Retrieved 2013-08-30.