By Raz Peleg, Sales Director, AdaSky
Experts are forecasting that autonomous vehicles (AVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) will gradually take over our roads, more specifically our urban roads. The day of an AV/EV driving independently to its charging station after being used as a Mobility service is not so far into the future.
Urban stakeholders are recognizing the benefit of low-emission Mobility as a Service platforms aiming to be “human error free”, thus Autonomous. On the other hand, public confidence in autonomous vehicles has been reducing.
This slump in enthusiasm is largely attributed to the numerous high-profile accidents in the last year. In order to reverse this trend and restore the public’s confidence in autonomous vehicles and the ultimate safety they can bring to our roads, people need to be sure that autonomous vehicles can reliably and accurately see and understand the road around them—24/7.
What will it take to make autonomous driving safe?
To reach the levels of safety necessary, vehicles must be outfitted with the right sensing solutions to give unwavering perception, analysis, and control in every environmental and road condition. To achieve this level of safety, automakers are starting to turn to Long wave Infrared (LWIR) known also as Far Infrared technology (FIR).
How does FIR enable greater levels of safety?
Unlike other sensors (e.g. lidar, radar, and CMOS cameras), FIR cameras provide high-quality images of the road and its surroundings even in very harsh conditions. FIR sensors passively collect highly available signals through detection of thermal energy that radiates from objects. Because of this ability to deliver superior images even in the absence of light or in dynamic lighting conditions (e.g. driving in the face of direct sunlight; entering or exiting a tunnel, and harsh weather conditions), FIR is attractive to many automotive OEMs ,especially in urban use.
The future of the automotive industry will rely on FIR
FIR technology has long been considered too expensive for mass market production in the automotive sphere. In addition to these economic obstacles, FIR is simply a complicated technology to develop and to optimize specifically for the requirements of autonomous vehicles. To do so, it requires multidisciplinary engineering abilities and a keen interest in the automotive market; in other words, the barrier to entrance is very high.
New sensor companies, however, are leveraging new materials and advanced manufacturing technology to make FIR technology affordable for mass market application in the automotive industry for the first time, causing automakers to turn to this new modality to complete their autonomous vehicles’ sensor suites. Israeli startup AdaSky is one such companies making waves in the automotive industry with its thermal FIR sensing solution, Viper.
Viper is the first high-resolution shutter less (constant operation) thermal perception solution for autonomous vehicles, designed for mass production. Using AdaSky’s proprietary, state-of-the-art Image sensing processor (ISP) & machine-vision algorithms, Viper enables vehicles to reliably detect, segment, and analyze pedestrians, animals, objects, and road conditions in ever-changing driving environments. With a uniquely curated team of experts from the semiconductor, thermal sensors, image-processing, and computer vision industries, AdaSky is leading the FIR revolution while bringing thermal sensing to the automotive industry in order to allow safer autonomous vehicles.
FIR advantages in Urban environment
FIR is the sensing technology best poised to usher in the future of urban autonomous vehicles because of its ability to deliver reliable and accurate detection of both living and non-living objects in every environmental condition. FIR has other technical advantages that position it as the ideal sensor for the future of autonomous vehicles.
For one, FIR is a passive technology. This is a stark contrast to active technologies such as lidar and radar that must both transmit and receive signals to detect their surroundings. Although effective in detection, these energy-emitting modalities threaten to interfere with and undermine one another in practice. Imagine: If our future roads are, indeed, inundated with autonomous vehicles, then the lidar and/or radar installed and functioning on one vehicle may interfere with and upset that of another passing vehicle. Moreover, the regulator has already limited the spectrum of radiation to protect human eyesight (in the case of Lidar), it may very well limit, in addition, the strength and amount of the total radiated energy in a human living environment.Thus, future reality is no single prototypes on our roads…
Additionally, FIR cameras have low power consumption. This is crucial for the future of the automotive industry, which promises to consist of not only autonomous but electric vehicles, especially in Urban environment, these will benefit from this low-power technology.
FIR is here
With the current new generation FIR technology now scalable for the automotive mass market, OEMs and Tier-ones are joining this FIR revolution to ensure that the future of vehicle autonomy is be a safe one, they are also into using it for current Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS).
Make sure FIR detects your citizens, wherever they are, whenever they are.
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