Bosch and Sony to develop new camera technology for autonomous vehicles

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Bosch and Sony Semiconductor Solutions are to cooperate on the development of new camera technology for driver assistance systems and automated driving, with an emphasis on video sensors that can cope with difficult lighting conditions.

Human drivers regularly experience sudden dazzling and restricted vision when driving on a sunny day or when the sun is particularly low in the sky. They can also have to briefly ‘drive blind’ due to the glare when exiting a tunnel on a bright day. Changing or poor lighting conditions provide a challenge not only for the human eye, but also for video sensors such as those required for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving.

To make these sensors function better, Bosch and Sony Semiconductor Solutions have agreed to cooperate on the development of highly innovative camera technology that will enable cars to reliably sense their surroundings, even in difficult lighting conditions.

Along with radar and ultrasonic sensors, video sensors are the sensory organs of modern cars. To create driver assistance systems, such as automatic emergency braking for pedestrians, lane keeping support systems, and road sign recognition, cameras are becoming increasingly integral to modern vehicle models. The advantage of video sensors is that they can detect multiple objects at long range, and the images produced have a huge information density.

For many years, Bosch has been producing mono and stereo video sensors to provide a 360° all-round view, and is one of the leading suppliers in this sector of the automotive industry. In the future, video sensors will be a crucial component of the in-vehicle data-provision infrastructure required by automated driving. This requires cameras that operate reliably when there is a sudden change of lighting conditions, from dark to light and vice versa. They must also be able to instantaneously differentiate when there are drastic differences in brightness within an image.

“We and Sony Semiconductor Solutions are bringing together the technological know-how of the market leader for image sensors, and the automotive knowledge of the world’s biggest supplier,” noted Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch chassis systems control division. “Automated driving cars will only be safe on the road if they can accurately sense their surroundings at all times.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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