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Automotive sensor with NIR capability debuts

Posted: 22 Aug 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automotive CMOS image sensors  near IR capability  automotive security applications 

OmniVision Technologies Inc. has enhanced its portfolio of single-chip automotive CMOS image sensors with near IR (NIR) capability. With integrated NIR capability, the automotive sensors can operate in dual mode, allowing them to function equally well in both day and night vision applications, which eliminates the need for two separate products.

The night vision capability is made possible by the development of a number of process-level enhancements that expand the sensor's spectral light sensitivity up to 1,050nm, the equivalent of NIR sensitivity. This enhanced sensitivity enables the sensors to perform object detection in complete darkness with the support of only a few very low-power LEDs and allows automotive cameras to see both beyond and outside the range of a vehicle's headlights.

The NIR capability significantly improves functionality for automotive safety and security applications while allowing OEMs and automotive manufacturers to simplify system designs and reduce the overall system BOM, said OmniVision.

The sensor provides a standard colour image during daylight hours and when the natural light levels fall below a pre-determined Lux level, the sensor automatically switches to black and white night vision mode. The dual-mode night vision capability is useful in driver assistance and safety applications such as pedestrian, object and sign detection, as well as rear view or backup camera applications.

Moreover, a growing number of automotive security applications are also using image sensors, such as black box anti-theft camera systems that record video when activated by motion detection around or inside the vehicle.

The NIR capability is now available for OmniVision's OV7710 and OV7950 automotive products. It will be available as a standard feature across the entire line of automotive products, and all new releases will incorporate this capability, said the company.

- Gina Roos

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