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November 17, 2017

Can You Read That Road Sign? Soon, Your Car Can

Sony is putting self-driving cars on the path of reality thanks to a new development in digital imaging technology. Specifically made for automotive applications such as forward-sensing cameras, the Sony IMX324 features a new CMOS sensor that bumps up the resolution to 7.42 effective megapixels—the highest currently in the industry.

The IMX324 is capable of three times the horizontal resolution compared to typical automotive cameras. With this, it can capture road signs as far as 160 meters away. Furthermore, it’s equipped with a pixel binning mode with raises its low-light sensitivity. It can capture images of pedestrians and obstacles lit only by something as bright as the moon. And even in environments with uneven, mixed levels of brightness, due to headlights and streetlights when driving at night, the sensor is equipped with a function that alternately captures dark sections at high-sensitivity settings and bright sections at high resolution, enabling high-precision image recognition when combined with the signal processing of the latter stage.

This is the first time in the industry where a stacked configuration has been employed on an automotive grade sensor. This arranges the pixel array and signal processing circuit in layers to allow for a compact size and low power consumption while still delivering high resolution.

This image sensor is expected to be compatible with image processors currently developed by Mobileye for use in automotive vehicle technology and advanced driver assist systems.

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