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HEAT SEEKERS

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP02_01
Published January 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
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  • English

While engineers debate the use of thermal-imaging sensors for ADAS, their capability and value are being proven for AVs of all levels.

What specific sensor types will comprise the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) of the 2020s? That's a controversial subject among engineers who are developing SAE Level 2 and 3 (and the so-called “L2+”) ADAS sensing suites for new vehicles. Many of them believe that visible-light cameras fused with radar will suffice to deliver the object-identification accuracy, redundancy-and cost effectiveness-that OEMs and the driving public expect of ADAS-equipped vehicles.

But a case is building for additional sensing capability, particularly for automatic emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian-detection. Those safety-critical functions currently rely on camera-radar inputs to “see” ahead. They enable the vehicle to react to a range of scenarios-from stalled traffic on a highway to humans and animals suddenly appearing in the road. (In Michigan alone, there were 53,464 traffic accidents involving deer in 2018, up 14% from 2016, according to state DoT data.)