Google to test new 360° camera designed for vehicle-mounting for Google Street View
NCTech has introduced a new 360° camera for vehicle-mounted image capture called the iSTAR Pulsar, which Google will begin to test for Street View in three countries.
The camera features four 12.3 MPixel Sony IMX253 global shutter CMOS image sensors and is designed to collect data from any moving vehicle, whether for Google’s Street View, or other platforms, using a proprietary stitching algorithm. The camera also features a 360 x 300° field of view and captures data at 5 fps.
"We are keen to explore technologies that can help increase the volume and frequency of data uploaded to Street View," said Charles Armstrong, Street View Product Manager at Google. "NCTech is a truly pioneering company - they continue to set the bar in spatial reconstruction by blending futuristic tech with accessible design and price points, and we look forward to seeing the results of our pilot with their new camera."
The new camera features Intel technology and will also be the first to adopt NCTech’s Intelligent Capture System, which is a cloud-based system that communicates to each camera, ensuring that the data collected is unique and manages disk space on the camera.
"With this product, we’re making use of the very latest Intel Apollo Lake processor technology." said Neil Tocher, CTO, NCTech. "Intel have worked very closely with us to ensure the product realises all the potential benefits provided by this new chipset for ultrafast street-level virtualisation."
Jonathan Ballon, GM Internet of Things Group, Intel Corp., also commented: "NCTech is automating the process36 of building out the digital world from the edge to cloud - with Intel® Atom E3900 Series inside the cameras and Intel® Xeon™ powering the Google Cloud," he said. "We’ve seen lots of real world places being virtualized, but these guys are pioneering virtualizing the entire world with their cutting edge cameras iSTAR Pulsar and Iris VR and their ColourCloud service."
In addition to the iSTAR Pulsar, NCTech has announced a second new Street View-compatible product, the VRC (Virtual Reality Camera), which is a low-cost consumer camera that will provide 3D virtualization of interior places, capturing 360° images and depth. VRC will feature Street View API compatibility, which enables anyone to be able to share their virtualized places on Street View, according to Tocher.
On the topic of the iSTAR Pulsar camera, Cameron Ure, CEO, NCTech noted: "With this new camera, we aim to enable a further wave of expansion in digitising the planet with the goal of increasing the 10 million miles per year currently available online, to one billion miles per year."
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