Vehicle infrared night vision research: to deal with extreme scenes, infrared thermal imaging can be expected

Zos Auto R & D released the “2019-2020 Vehicle Infrared Night Vision System Research Report”.

Infrared radiation refers to electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between 0.75 microns and 1000 microns, which is between the visible light band and the microwave band. The energy corresponding to the infrared radiation band is between 0.1eV-1.0eV. All the physical and chemical effects within the above energy range can be used for infrared detection. Therefore, many different types of detectors have been developed and developed. According to the working temperature, it can be divided into refrigerated detector and unrefrigerated detector.

As early as 2000, Cadillac cars were equipped with a night vision system, which was also the world’s first car brand equipped with a night vision system. Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, etc. were also equipped with night vision systems. By 2013, more than 10 OEMs had already equipped night vision systems (only on top models). However, due to the high price of night vision systems, sales of corresponding models have not been high.

According to data from Zoath Automotive Research, the sales of new passenger vehicles equipped with night vision systems in China in 2019 were 4,609 units, an increase of 65.6% year-on-year, mainly driven by the sales of Cadillac XT5, Cadillac XT6, Hongqi H7 and other models.

With the development of ADAS and self-driving cars, safety issues are getting more and more attention. Especially after Uber’s fatal accident, the industry has raised a question, whether infrared night vision is used for autonomous driving, can Uber’s fatal accidents be prevented? The infrared night vision system is also an important option for solving the safety of autonomous driving in extreme scenarios.

Veoneer is the representative of mass production of infrared night vision systems in the world. Its product history is four generations, of which the fourth generation will be launched in June 2020. Compared with the third generation products, it has improved size, weight, and cost. The observation field of view and detection distance have been improved, pedestrian, animal and vehicle detection algorithms have been strengthened, and night AEB solutions have been supported.

Veoneer and Flir, a global leader in infrared thermal imaging technology, will launch a night vision system for L4 autonomous vehicles in 2021, which can more easily identify objects and pedestrians.

Comparison of Veoneer’s four generations of in-vehicle infrared night vision products

Vehicle infrared night vision research: to deal with extreme scenes, infrared thermal imaging can be expected

Source: IRay

Hongqi H7 is equipped with ANV active night vision system. Through the infrared transmitter on the headlight and the camera on the front wind window, the area in front of the vehicle can be synchronously monitored, so that the driver can obtain clear road condition information at any time.

Hongqi H7 night vision system belongs to near-infrared, the price is thousands of yuan. To see a distance of more than 300 meters, far-infrared thermal imaging technology is required.

FLIR has always spared no effort to promote the application of infrared thermal imaging technology in automobiles. In August 2019, FLIR launched a new generation of ADK (Night Vision System Development Kit) specially developed for driverless cars, using FLIR’s self-developed Boson infrared thermal imaging movement with a resolution of 640×512.

Uncooled infrared imager and detector technology are currently research hotspots. In August 2019, Arrow Optoelectronics released a 10-micron 1280×1024 uncooled infrared focal plane detector. According to Maxtech’s sales and price forecasts for uncooled thermal imaging cameras, the unit price will drop to less than $2,000 after 2021, and sales will exceed 3 million units.

Source: Maxtech

From the current price point of view, thermal imaging cameras are still very expensive for automotive applications. Including Israel’s ADASKY, China’s Dali Technology, AutoNavi Infrared, and Beifang Microelectronics are committed to the research and development and mass production of low-cost infrared thermal imaging cameras.

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