A vehicle area detector correctly detects a vehicle area. The vehicle area detector detects a vehicle area in a vehicle candidate area having a high probability of existence of a vehicle in an image produced by imaging means mounted on a vehicle. For the correct detection of the vehicle area, the detector includes a horizontal symmetry evaluator to evaluate a degree of horizontal symmetry with respect to a degree of gradation in the image of the area, a variance evaluator to evaluate a degree of variance in the degree of gradation in the image of the area, a lower-area mean gradation evaluator to evaluate a difference in the degree of gradation of an image between a lower area of a vehicle candidate area and an area in the proximity of a lower edge of the candidate area exceeds a predetermined threshold value, and an area determining unit to determine a vehicle candidate area as the vehicle area in accordance with results of evaluation from the symmetry evaluator, the variance evaluator, and the lower-are mean gradation evaluator.
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