Autonomous Vehicles – OmniVision is Watching with High-Speed Global Shutter Image Sensors

OmniVision Technologies is bringing driver and passenger monitoring to mainstream vehicles with what it claims is a cost-effective 1-megapixel, high-speed global shutter image sensor. The digital imaging company says this is perfect for in-cabin camera modules in passenger vehicles, where driver state monitoring (DSM) and passenger-monitoring cameras need to be extremely small and unobtrusive, while complying with safety regulations.

The global automotive image sensor market is about to experience accelerating growth as a result of increased automation and the new safety regulations on level-3 semi-autonomous vehicles – so called conditional automation. (AutoInformed on SAE Autonomous Driving Levels)

Semi-autonomous vehicles use DSM to track the driver’s eye gaze and allow the vehicle to take control when the driver becomes drowsy or distracted. DSM is currently available in high-end cars, but over the next few years, the tracking will likely migrate into mainstream vehicles, a market segment that is much more cost-sensitive.

“Upcoming mandates will require that all vehicles sold in the EU come equipped with driver-state monitoring, beginning with 2022 models,” says Thilo Rausch, product marketing manager at OmniVision. “The OV9284 is the industry’s first image sensor with the right balance of cost effectiveness, high-quality imaging and advanced features, meeting the needs of the mainstream automotive market,” he claims.

The OV9284 also has what’s declared as the industry’s best near-infrared (NIR) quantum efficiency (QE) in a driver-monitoring image sensor, with 12% at 940 nm, which allows designers to achieve enough illumination with fewer LEDs. These reduce total system cost and power consumption. This sensor consumes only 90 mW of power at 60 frames per second (fps), which is a claimed 30% lower than the nearest competitor. The high-speed global shutter sensor with OmniPixel3-GS™ technology offers 1280 x 800 resolution at video speeds of up to 120 fps.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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