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Smart vision system for hail damage inspection

High-resolution cameras detect every dent

Following hailstorms, many vehicles must be inspected for hail damage in the shortest possible time. With the aid of 17 high-resolution Manta cameras from Allied Vision, adomea’s hail scanner MIKo quickly and thoroughly detects even the smallest dents, accelerating the claim process for insurers and vehicle owners alike.

The smart vision system is capable of handling a large number of vehicle scans in a much shorter duration increasing efficiency as assessments would otherwise need to be conducted manually.

The challenge

Storms with hailstones are increasing

Due to climate change, powerful storms with hailstones as big as golf balls occur more frequently. But even with smaller sized ice projectiles, numerous vehicles are covered with countless dents, large and small. Frustrating for vehicle owners in the affected region, but good for business for Bochum Germany’s adomea (advanced optical measurement and automation) GmbH - when insurance adjusters and underwriters have difficulty handling the number of cases, despite additional personnel, this mobile hail damage scanner can help save time. Additionally, it makes complete documentation of damage possible for the first time. Thanks to high-resolution cameras, MIKo sees far more detail than an adjuster can perceive with mere eyes.

The solution

Reflection of a pattern shows damage

Policy holders in regions ravaged by hail need not travel to adomea in Bochum to have vehicle damage evaluated; MIKo (a German acronym for mobile identification system for vehicle surface defects) is mobile, fits in flight cases packed into a trailer, and is set up on location, such as in a warehouse, like a transportable roofless garage. Its aluminum frame construction, with a footprint of approximately 50 m² (538 ft2), provides sufficient space to check the entire surface of any current vehicle model. The walls surrounding the vehicle are illuminated by projectors. A total of seventeen cameras are mounted in different positions to capture the entire exterior of the vehicle.

Similar to an adjuster’s procedure, the reflection of a pattern on the vehicle’s surface is observed. But in contrast to a human observer, MIKo delivers an objective measurement result on a metric scale. By observing the reflection, even the smallest surface errors can be reliably detected.  In order to register the smallest irregularities and distortions within the surface, two Allied Vision camera models with high resolution are used: the 6-megapixel Manta G-609 camera equipped with a Sony ICX694 CCD progressive sensor, delivering 15 images per second at full resolution (2752 × 2206), and the 9-megapixel Manta G-917 camera, from the same camera family, which contains a 1'' Sony ICX814 sensor with EXview HAD II technology that distinguishes itself with outstanding image quality and high resolution.

The benefits

See more than the human eye

Currently, five mobile MIKos are ready for use across Germany and are utilized anywhere hail damage occurs. In such instances, adomea works closely with different insurance companies as a cooperative partner. How much the entire damage assessment, calculation, and regulation process can be completely digitized is currently undergoing lively debate throughout the industry. In most cases, the hail scanner serves, at the moment, to support experts in most cases and has not completely taken over the evaluation process. Still, acceptance of “artificial camera eyes”, which in cases of doubt see more than the human eye, is rapidly increasing among policy holders that some prefer to rely on the technology rather than their adjuster. Confidence in an adjuster’s expert option increases when he or she makes use of modern imaging and measurement technology, according to Franke.

The results, specifically the individual dents, can be subdivided not only according to shape and depth, but also can be designated according to the corresponding section of the chassis. A visual representation of the damage is included in a damage report that is generated automatically. Using available interfaces, the common damage calculation software can be connected. Even system operation via tablet computer is possible.

The damage assessment takes two to three minutes.

The camera: Manta G-609 and Manta G-917

Multi camera system

The 6-megapixel Manta G-609 camera is equipped with a Sony ICX694 CCD progressive sensor, delivering 15 images per second at full resolution (2752 × 2206), and the 9-megapixel Manta G-917 camera contains a 1'' Sony ICX814 sensor with EXview HAD II technology that distinguishes itself with outstanding image quality and high resolution.

All seventeen cameras are synchronously controlled using PTP (Precision Time Protocol).  Together, they generate a complete image of the examined vehicle. Using Allied Vision’s Vimba Software Development Kit, the cameras are integrated into damage analysis software developed by adomea where 3D renderings for nearly 90% of the highest sold auto models over the last ten years are stored.

Highlights at a glance

  • High resolution cameras see far more detail than an adjuster can perceive with mere eyes.
  • Precision Time Protocol ensures all seventeen Manta cameras are synchronously controlled.
  • Acceleration of the claim process for insurers and vehicle owners.
  • Enormous time efficiency, objective measurement result and complete documentation.