Tech Watch: Denso’s Nocturnal Sensor

Denso's vision sensor is nocturnal—seeing pedestrians, cyclists, road signs and driving markers under the cover of darkness. 

Denso Corp.’s (denso.com) newly released vision sensor is nocturnal—seeing pedestrians, cyclists, road signs and driving markers under the cover of darkness. This new unit is more functionally capable yet is said to be half the weight of the company’s previous sensor. 

Featured in the overseas-sold Toyota Alphard and Vellfire minivans, the system includes a millimeter-wave radar sensor that activates emergency brakes when objects cross the vehicles’ paths. The sensor connects with a lens designed for low-light situations as well as a high-sensitivity solid-state imaging device. 

Denso notes the system is 40 percent smaller than the previous model. The technology is designed to better track lanes and road edges to improve lane-keeping and lane departure warnings. It’s also designed to pick up on the varying shapes of road signs, such as triangular, rectangular and octagonal signs used in Japan, Europe and the United States—bringing additional observations of road conditions into the mix.