Camera sensor brings high dynamic range to automotive applications

February 28, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Melexis has developed a high dynamic range image sensor for use in a broad range of markets – automotive driver assistance and night vision applications applications in the first place. The camera sensor chip can also be used in security/surveillance cameras, fleet safety cameras, truck blind spot cameras, transportation/heavy vehicle cameras, and other outdoor and all weather cameras, the vendor said.

The MLX75411 Avocet image sensor is a wide-VGA sensor with a 1024x512 pixels resolution. It features an extended high dynamic range of up to 154dB in every single frame at a full frame speed of 60fps. This offers tremendous picture quality benefits during day time and night time and thus enhances safety offered by driver assistance systems.

Cliff De Locht, product line manager at Melexis comments: “In specific daytime automotive conditions like when sunlight shines directly into the lens, or when driving in or out tunnels or garages, the “Avocet” image sensor is able to give a crisp picture with maximum picture details in the very bright areas of the frame and the dark areas of the frame simultaneously”

“Also for surveillance camera's the high dynamic range offering is very important. For example day/night surveillance cameras that guard entry doors will want to see a very good exposure of the people's faces on the inside and on the outside of the door opening simultaneously. Technically speaking, this requires high dynamic range, so the Avocet imager is at its best in these conditions.”

Although the “Avocet” image sensor was originally designed for automotive front-view applications, the current demand for higher quality rear-view and surround view systems will also benefit from this high dynamic range, Melexis said. With reference to the recently proposed NHTSA rule based on the “Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act”, the company said this rule mandates the timeline for adding rearview cameras in automobiles sold in the US beginning in 2012.

The development of the “Avocet” image sensor aims not only at offering a high quality imager at a competitive price, it also targets lowering our customer's total cost of ownership. The Avocet's specific Glass-BGA package features an optical area fully shielded against contamination, moisture (Moisture Sensitivity Level – MSL1) and potentially lowers active lens focus costs by providing very high x,y,z and rotation accuracies by construction.