Discover more about the topics and technologies to be discussed at this year's (fee-to-attend) conferences, via a series of exclusive interviews with a selection of our expert speakers
Raz Peleg, director of AdaSky, introduces the new kid on the block of sensing systems. Far infrared technology may soon start to complement lidar and cameras as it is well suited to detecting living beings and unlike cameras it is not affected by poor conditions.
Catch Raz’s presentation FIR technology: from enhanced ADAS to Level 3 and above autonomy at the Autonomous Vehicle Test & Development Symposium. Purchase your delegate pass here.
Tell us more about what you'll be presenting.
FIR (far infrared) technology is experiencing a revolution, and AdaSky is leading the way. Now entering the automotive market to fulfill OEMs' need for a solution capable of detecting and classifying all living and non-living objects in an AV's surroundings, FIR is the missing link to evolving ADAS and enabling Level 3 and higher autonomy.
My presentation will discuss how ADAS is paving the way to autonomous driving, and how AVs are leveraging proven concepts from ADAS systems. From there, I’ll explain the missing gaps in today's most commonly used sensing modalities – radar, cameras, and lidar – and show how these technologies are unable to independently provide AVs with adequate and reliable detection in every environmental condition.
Most importantly, I will assess the technical advantages of FIR – including its ability to accurately detect vehicles’ surroundings at both long range and in inclement weather, as well as its means of aesthetic integration – and explain how, with this technology, we at AdaSky are empowering the car of tomorrow.
What have the technological breakthroughs been that have allowed FIR technology to become a viable vision system for ADAS and AVs?
FIR is a very mature technology that has been used for decades in vertical markets like military and aviation. It has been restricted to these markets and select luxury brands as the technology was long considered too expensive for mass-market use. However, new and advanced materials and manufacturing technologies have recently made thermal cameras affordable, enabling us to create Viper, an FIR sensor that is economically suitable for mass-market deployment for ADAS and AVs. This has been possible in part due to Viper's design, minimal size, and low power consumption, as well as its advanced, proprietary thermal calibration equipment and algorithms. With these technological breakthroughs, AdaSky has been a pioneer in the FIR revolution by making the technology, for the first time, a viable, affordable vision system for ADAS and AVs.
Is the technology suitable for full AVs (Level 4 and up), or is it just focusing on ADAS at the moment?
We’re starting by focusing on ADAS. However, FIR technology (and AdaSky's Viper, specifically,) is the essential enabler for Level 3 and higher vehicle autonomy and is now being seriously evaluated in major OEMs' prototypes. The automotive market is realizing that FIR is the enabling sensor, for not only ADAS but also for full autonomy because, in addition to its impressive sensing capabilities (e.g. superior detection in dynamic lighting, harsh weather and night scenes), FIR is also uniquely affordable for mass-market deployment.
Why should developers of AVs (and ADAS) use FIR technology, rather than lidar or cameras (or a combination)?
We believe we could be a good replacement for current ADAS offerings, as we are not affected by challenging situations, unlike cameras. As for AVs, we believe they will strongly rely on FIR technology on top of lidar and/or cameras to achieve Level 4 and higher autonomy. This is because FIR is the only sensing modality that can deliver reliable, accurate detection in real time and in any environmental condition.
Unlike lidar, which must both transmit and receive signals, an FIR camera passively collects signals by detecting the thermal energy that radiates from objects. By sensing this infrared spectrum that’s far above visible light, FIR is able to generate a new layer of information, enabling it to seamlessly identify any living object in a vehicle’s surroundings. Additionally, the latest, next-generation FIR technology is economically scalable for mass-market use and is also physically small enough to be aesthetically integrated on vehicles (such as in the headlights). Due to its unique detection capabilities, affordability and integration opportunities – among other advantages – it would behoove developers of AVs to turn to FIR technology if they wish to achieve full vehicle autonomy.
What do you regard as the ideal setup for AV and ADAS?
We see the best offering to the automotive industry as combination of FIR and CMOS. FIR has superior image perception that enables it to successfully provide coverage in a variety of weather and lighting conditions and in the midst of pedestrians and animals. Yet, when combined with a CMOS solution it can provide even more comprehensive sensing capabilities. For example, because FIR functions by assessing an object’s thermal signature and emissivity, it cannot see colors in great detail; this causes it to struggle to read traffic signs. This, however, can be overcome by combining FIR with CMOS. CMOS, while able to clearly read traffic signs, cannot effectively detect thermally homogenic regions and separate them from the background—something FIR accomplishes without flaw. Thus, by combining these two modalities, developers of AVs can allow AVs to best see and understand all of their surroundings – including traffic signs.