Paper published in the Journal Machine Vision and Applications 2024

  • Title: A visual foreign object detection system for wireless charging of electric vehicles
  • Authors: Bijan Shahbaz Nejad, Peter Roch, Marcus Handte and Pedro José Marrón
  • Abstract: Wireless charging of electric vehicles can be achieved by installing a transmitter coil into the ground and a receiver coil at the underbody of a vehicle. In order to charge efficiently, accurate alignment of the charging components must be accomplished, which can be achieved with a camera-based positioning system. Due to an air gap between both charging components, foreign objects can interfere with the charging process and pose potential hazards to the environment. Various foreign object detection systems have been developed with the motivation to increase the safety of wireless charging. In this paper, we propose a foreign object detection technique that utilizes the integrated camera of an embedded positioning system. Due to operation in an outdoor environment, we cannot determine the types of objects that may occur in advance. Accordingly, our approach achieves object-type independence by learning the features of the charging surface, to then classify anomalous regions as foreign objects. To examine the capability of detecting foreign objects, we evaluate our approach by conducting experiments with images depicting known and unknown object types. For the experiments, we use an image dataset recorded by a positioning camera of an operating wireless charging station in an outdoor environment, which we published alongside our research. As a benchmark system, we employ YOLOv8 (Jocher et al. in Ultralytics YOLO, 2023), a state-of-the-art neural network that has been used in various contexts for foreign object detection. While we acknowledge the performance of YOLOv8 for known object types, our approach achieves up to 18% higher precision and 46% higher detection success for unknown objects.
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