Extreme Image Sensors
Although image sensors are being more widely used in vehicles to aid in parking and lane change assist, they’re effectiveness is often challenged in hot weather environments. To solve this problem, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS (ims.fraunhofer.de) has developed a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) that can withstand temperatures from -40 to 115ºC. “Our chip is not only heat-resistant, it even functions at arctic temperatures,” says Werner Brockherde, head of department at the IMS. The CMOS image sensor features pixels exhibiting low dark currents. This reduces the residual current, making it possible to capture high-quality images in extreme heat conditions.
Radar Sensors for Braking
TRW (trw.com) has developed a radar sensor capable of measur ing the distance and relative speed of objects up to 150 meters directly in front of it. This AC100 24-GHz sensor is being used in the company’s Collision Mitigation Braking system, which provides drivers with braking support in would-be collisions with moving or stationary objects in urban driving conditions.
The AC100 24-GHz radar sensor used in the system is half the price of the more commonly used 77-GHz radars, allowing such technology to be brought to a wider market, says Dr. Alois Seewald, TRW director of Engineering for Inte-grated Active and Passive Safety Technologies. It can also operate in all weather conditions, he says.
The Quarter Size Rear-View Camera
A miniature rear-view camera capable of giving drivers a full 130°-view directly behind the rear bumper has been developed through a partnership between Hella (hella.com) and Samsung (samsung.com). This camera, the RVC3, is about the size of a quarter and weighs half an ounce. Its small size makes it 10 times lighter and 25% smaller than previous generations of cameras, allowing easy integration into rear emblems and tailgates in all vehicle classes, says Mark Brainard, Hella vice president of Product Development in Electronics
The Dashboard of Tomorrow
A high-resolution, thin-film transistor (TFT) screen has been developed by Spansion (spansion.com) and Freescale Semiconductor (freescale.com) to bring a more cost-effective and reliable solution to the next generation of vehicle dash-boards. The TFT screens replace the dashboard’s main cluster panel with a single LCD display for conventional instrumentation, giving drivers better visibility of their surroundings. The design is dependent on the OEM; content could include blind-spot alerts, parking assistance and road safety information. The TFT screens are also able to upload graphical data faster, thanks to Spansion and Freescale Semiconductor’s collaboration on a high-performance memory subsystem. The technology is currently being adopted in mid-market vehicles and is expected to be in more than 30 million vehicles by 2013.