Continental integrates the camera and infrared functions into a single compact unit.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Oct. 21, 2012
The new SRL-CAM400 sensor module integrates a CMOS camera and an infrared LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging Sensor) into a single compact unit, which can be installed in the mirror base even in small cars. Continental’s new SRL-CAM400's function/cost ratio makes it the ideal basic sensor for automatic emergency braking and other advanced driver assistance systems.
Driving tired, distracted or simply lacking focus on the road ahead are key contributors to traffic accidents around the world according to every automotive safety organization in the world.
A way to help reduce these avoidable accidents is with advanced driver assistance systems. Unfortunately these driver assistance systems have been high priced. Until now.
Continental has is developing a new scalable driver assistance function design that should bring costs down to the point of affordability even in the B and C-segments.
At speeds up to 45 mph, the Continental sourced SRL-CAM400 can help drivers avoid a collision by initiating automatic emergency braking. The difference in speed between the vehicle and an object can be up to 25 mph. If the speed differences are greater, emergency braking will at least considerably reduce the force of the impact. The new sensor module is currently in the pilot production stage, with series production planned to begin in 2015.
CMOS cameras are already used for categorizing objects in front of a vehicle. However, by itself, a CMOS camera cannot always provide sufficiently reliable information for initiating automatic emergency braking. This is why Continental is combining this passive sensor technology with an infrared LIDAR in the SRL-CAM400. The LIDAR sensor transmits three pulsed infrared beams with a 905nm wavelength and measures the time-of-flight until the reflected beams reach the receiving optics. The sensor monitors a distance of more than 33 ft. in front of the vehicle, which classifies it as a short-range LIDAR system. From the speed of light and the time-of-flight, the SRL-CAM400 is able to calculate the distance to the object to an accuracy of up less than 4 in. In conjunction with the CMOS camera, the analysis unit in the sensor module now has access to both a robust means of object categorization and accurate distance measurement. Before automatic emergency braking is initiated, the two signal paths are compared with each other, thus further enhancing the probability that a correct decision will be made.
Scalability created affordability
With tight cost targets for use in compact vehicles in mind, the SRL-CAM400 module has been made scalable.
Depending on the application,
the computing capacity “can be adjusted” to three levels: 'Entry', 'Basic' and 'Premium'.
In all three variants, the SRL-CAM400 always provides robust and reliable data on which to base the decision to initiate automatic emergency braking – and does so in the smallest space. Other advanced driver assistance systems, such as Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping System (LKS), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) and Intelligent Headlamp Control (IHC) can be installed as additional optional vehicle equipment with the same sensor module. Depending on the level of sensor module, vehicles fitted with the SRL-CAM400 can be awarded points in all Euro NCAP assessment categories. As far as drivers are concerned, having Emergency Brake Assist fitted to their vehicles produces not only safety benefits but also offers the additional attraction of potentially reducing their insurance premiums.
What I imagine given Continental’s description above, code will be “held back” to reduce the functionality for less expensive automobiles even though the same sensor unit will be employed. While this has been going on since modern automobile design was initiated, it could prove to be particularly onerous if already developed code was being held back for the sake of differentiation between one class of vehicle and another where safety is concerned?
On a more positive note however, adding these advanced safety systems to the lower cost B, C and even D-segment at an affordable price will reduce collisions and hopefully costs from fewer repairs, less costly ones if we do in fact experience a reduction in collisions seeds and possibly even a reduction in car insurance with fewer claims across the entire fleet. That last one will see the large car insurance agencies fighting tooth and nail to keep premiums as high as they can for as long as they can however.