Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and driverless vehicles are two of the major trends shaping today’s automotive industry. Advances in these areas are ultimately expected to reduce traffic fatalities due to human error. The European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) roadmaps recommend autonomous emergency braking systems with vulnerable road user detection capabilities. The air transportation industry is also leveraging advances in technology to provide pilots with vision systems that can assist them during landing and taxiing in all-weather conditions, day or night.
Current vision systems use a combination of visible light, LIDAR and radar and can provide information about a vehicle’s surroundings. However, these systems are limited by certain factors, such as available light and are limited in their ability to discern the type of object detected (human, animal or an inanimate obstacle).
Thermal imaging systems, on the other hand, could allow driverless vehicles and aircraft pilots to sense, detect and clearly identify any obstacle, whether it is at a distance of one meter or one kilometer, in all-weather conditions, any time of the day or night.
Thermal sensor technologies can also be used to sense driver and passenger activity and react by adjusting heating, ventilation or air conditioning accordingly, as well as monitoring which seats are being occupied. These features improve comfort for occupants, increase driver awareness and enhance system monitoring.