AdaSky and ST Bring Day/Night IR Vision to Cars
23 February, 2018
Viper includes a FIR thermal camera with embedded custom silicon co-designed with ST and manufactured by ST in its 28nm FD-SOI process
STMicroelectronics and AdaSky from Yokneam, Israel have developed far infrared (FIR) technology to the automotive market. The system called Viper includes is AdaSky’s FIR thermal camera with embedded custom silicon co-designed with ST and manufactured by ST in its proprietary 28nm FD-SOI (Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator) manufacturing technology. Viper aims to enable autonomous vehicles to see and understand their surroundings in any condition.
The new camera uses an FIR micro-bolometer sensor to detect the temperature of an object. In an ADAS solution, Viper uses proprietary algorithms based on Convolutional Neural Networks to classify obstacles and show them in a cockpit display to give the driver an early warning. This warning comes several seconds earlier than it would when using a conventional sensor in the visible wavelength and is even faster than what is possible with the human eye.
“We have created the first high-resolution thermal camera for autonomous vehicles with minimal size, weight, and power consumption, and no moving parts,” said Amotz Kats, Vice President Hardware, AdaSky. “We’re in a position to deliver a breakthrough solution to revolutionize the autonomous vehicle market because of ST’s mastery of automotive qualification and its strong manufacturing supply chain.”
“AdaSky has developed a powerful infrared-based vision sensor and valuable algorithms that add a complementary and incredibly valuable additional layer of information to the existing sensors that will soon be driving autonomous vehicles,” said Fabio Marchio, Group Vice President and General Manager, Automotive Digital Division, STMicroelectronics. “By addressing the challenging and difficult driving conditions that remain one of the largest concerns to true, always-on, 24/7 autonomous driving, AdaSky is enabling these driverless systems.”
Mass production in 2020
Viper has been designed in ST’s proprietary 28nm FD-SOI manufacturing technology and uses ST IP that is fully qualified for automotive applications. Prototypes are under evaluation by carmakers, targeting a start of production in 2020. Behind Viper there is a military knowledge of infra red vision and sensors that was developed for years in RAFAEL. It combines a far infrared thermal camera with advanced machine vision algorithms that lets autonomous vehicles see and understand the road in any lighting or weather condition.
Getting complete sight and perception of the roadway, other vehicles, roadside infrastructure, and obstacles, in challenging lighting or weather conditions, is fundamental for the autonomous cars. To achieve 24/7 autonomous driving, vehicles will rely on the fusion of complementary information streams provided by different sensors.
ST says that no sensor or camera in operation today can capture all of the information on its own and each has challenges in certain lighting or weather conditions. “Passive infrared vision, like that in AdaSky’s Viper, when used in a fusion solution, can help close the gaps to provide accurate sight and perception without fail in dynamic lighting conditions, in direct sunlight, in the face of oncoming headlights, and in harsh weather.”
To AdaSky website: www.adasky.com