Autonomous Driving

Thermal Cameras: An Important Step Towards Autonomous Driving

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are playing an increasingly important role in the mobility of the future.  For example, all current vehicles are equipped with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. Some other automakers already offer limited "hands-free" highway driving up to a certain speed limit.  

Autonomous vehicles emit laser and radar beams, use multiple daylight cameras, and even listen with microphones. However, they are limited in their ability to provide the highest level of safety for both vehicle occupants and pedestrians in the surrounding area. 

One of the biggest challenges is ensuring safety in harsh weather conditions and darkness. The solution may lie in a technology that has been around for many years and is now increasingly in the spotlight: thermal cameras. 

Until recently, thermal cameras was a nice-to-have feature offered in luxury vehicles. But with the rapid advancement of autonomous technologies and the safety concerns they raise, this technology is becoming an indispensable tool. They are the key to efficient, economical and safe autonomous driving at all levels - from autonomous trucks on highways to autonomous vehicles in cities. 

However, pedestrians still pose a major challenge for autonomous vehicles as they are difficult to distinguish from their surroundings and are often difficult for conventional sensors to detect. This is especially dangerous when only parts of their body are visible, or when they inadvertently step into the road. Vehicles and animals on the road outside the headlights or within a relevant braking distance but outside the restricted field of view also pose a significant risk. It makes it possible to detect and classify such obstacles at an early stage. 

 ADASKY, an Israeli company founded in 2016, specializes in the development and production of long-wave infrared (LWIR) cameras and perception algorithms. These cameras and algorithms extend automatic emergency braking (AEB) to pedestrian automatic emergency braking (PAEB) and extend the operating range of autonomous vehicles (AV ODD). They are have revolutionized the thermal cameras by using a chip to host algorithms that aliminate the need to use moving parts allowing full automotive ADAS  reliable performance in a variety of conditions such as rain, fog, glare or darkness.  

The company will present more details at IAA MOBILITY in Munich in September. 

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