STEREOLABS ZED Camera – 3D depth sensing – GTC 2015

When STEREOLABS dropped by the NVIDIA booth, I was able to get a peek at their ZED Stereo Camera. At first glance, the camera looked to be ruggedly packaged and a good match for autonomous vehicles and drones.

In a very interesting Session Talk Stereo Vision For Autonomous Machines given by Edwin Azzam, the CTO of STEREOLABS, the pipeline for image rectification and depth mapping was outlined as implemented on a Jetson TK1.

I enjoyed the amount of information that was shared about the process.

The compute efficiency noted that it takes about 7 ms to upload the images, 3 ms to rectify them, and then 22 ms to calculate the depth map on the Jetson TK1 GPU. In the background, the CPU runs a calibration check program. Given that real time sensing and obstacle detection must occur in 50 ms, this leaves about 18 ms to be used for obstacle detection. This looks like a nice fit for the Jetson TK1. platform.

This looks to be a nice package for placing on robots and drones, and should be available soon.

11 Comments

  1. I spoked a lot with the guys of StereoLab. That camera seems really amazing. Only one concern about the distance of the two cameras. The cameras are 12 cm far, so the minimum measurable distance is over 1 meter. Really good for outdoor, but not useful for indoor operation used standalone.
    What is really amazing is the USB3.0 and the 120 fps at 640×480!!!

  2. I was just able to handle it for a few minutes, it seemed to be well packaged. It struck me that it’s designed for outdoor use. In an overview of the sensors at the show, it seems that there is currently no ‘all in one’ solution that works both indoors and out for close sensing and far sensing. That’s not surprising, that’s why a wide variety of sensors have been created over the years, each with their own niche.

    It is a little surprising, though the market is still very young, that there isn’t a sensor package that combines a couple of different technologies to provide both near and far sensing indoors.

    • whats the accuracy or axial resolution of this camera?
      in another words, if someone use this camera as a motion tracking device, whats the smallest motion quantity which can be detect via this device?

      • Hi Milad,
        It’s not easy to speak about “axial resolution” in a Stereo System because it’s a parameter that depends on the complexity of the environment. What I can say to you is that you cannot reach the resolution of the ZED in any other stereo system because it’s the only one that has full HD at that high frame rate.
        Furthermore the algorithms used by StereoLabs developers generates a depth map so defined that I never saw in any other stereo vision system that I used in my past researches.
        Finally you stimulated my curiosity, so maybe that in the next days I will make a full test to understand the real definition capabilities of the camera.
        I will put the results on my blog, and I’m sure that Kangalow will reply them here since I will use a Jetson TK1 and a Jetson TX1.
        Stay tuned
        Walter

    • The CTO spoke extensively about implementing their algorithms on the Jetson TK1. However, note that this is not a currently shipping product. I’m not sure what platforms they plan on supporting. I’ll note that representatives from STEREOLABS were speaking with the Jetson marketing team, but I’m not sure that means that they will be releasing a Linux version.

      • Yeah, when I talked to them at their booth, they mentioned that they didn’t support Linux yet, but they’d support it in a few months.
        Either way, it’s an awesome camera!

  3. hi, could the jetson tk1 be programmed while connected to the pc, and then separate it from the pc to be connected to zed for other purposes and projects?

    • Yes, you can cross compile on an Ubuntu host and download the resulting program to the Jetson. Most people just develop on the Jetson as it is a capable development environment on its own, but there are a group of users who develop on a PC.

  4. The cameras are nice, but the technical support is severely lacking. There is no phone number, and waiting for an email reply to a question can stretch to many days or weeks. Also they are dragging their feed in replacing a non-working camera for me. I am used to rapid service for products, especially faulty ones, but not from this company. Buy at your own risk.

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