Infineon Technologies AG, together with 3D ToF system specialist pmdtechnologies ag, has developed the second generation of the REAL3 automotive image sensor – an ISO26262-complient high-resolution 3D image sensor.
“Leveraging our leadership in 3D sensors for consumer applications, we are now offering high resolution with a tiny image circle to the automotive world. This enables cars with functions from the consumer world, while maintaining automotive standards and even improving passive safety,” said Christian Herzum, vice president 3D Sensing at Infineon. “For instance, reliable and secure facial authentication allows seamless connectivity for any type of service that requires authentication such as payment, battery charging or accessing private data.”
Also, the same camera fulfils all necessities for driver monitoring to detect driver distraction and fatigue. This allows the offering of a driver monitoring system with secure 3D facial recognition employing only one ToF camera.
“From the start we were focussed on improving the robustness of the underlying pmd-based ToF Technology against external influences such as sunlight or other disturbing light sources. For this reason, the new imager shows excellent and cutting edge performance even under harsh conditions”, said Bernd Buxbaum, CEO pmdtechnologies ag.
The sensor is supplied in a 9mm x 9mm² plastic BGA package and provides a VGA system resolution of 640 x 480 pixels with a tiny image circle of 4mm. This enables lens sizes similar to those known from smartphones, but now also for automotive applications. The high resolution of the sensor also makes it ideal for camera applications with a wide field of view, such as complete front-row occupant monitoring systems. The resulting 3D body models allow accurate estimates of occupant size and weight, and highly precise passenger and seat position data, which is key information for intelligent airbag deployment and restraint systems. As well as its small size, the single-chip solution is qualified to AEC-Q100 Grade 2 and is the first of its kind being developed according to the ISO26262 (ASIL-B) standard.
Besides safety-critical applications, the 3D data provides for comfort features such as gesture control or intuitive interior lighting that follows passengers' movements. Also, the imager might be employed in environmental perception scenarios as a Flash-LiDAR in the automotive space and – based on the safety conformity – it is also an excellent candidate for adjacent applications in mobile robotics, drones and other autonomous use cases, in general, where reliability and safety is a must to protect operators.