Renault forms partnership with Chronocam to develop bio-inspired vision systems


The Renault Group has formed a strategic partnership with a French startup that will see the auto maker use a unique bio-inspired vision technology to extend the capabilities of its safety and autonomous driving systems.

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO and chairman of Groupe Renault, has announced that the company has entered into a strategic development agreement with Chronocam SA, a developer of biologically-inspired vision sensors and computer vision systems for automotive applications.

Renault is actively co-innovating with various startups for the agile development of technologies, and this new agreement will focus on further developing and applying Chronocam’s innovative approach to sensing and processing visual inputs to Renault’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving developments. Renault previously announced an investment in Chronocam’s Series B round of funding, which raised US$15m for the Paris-based startup, and includes a group of international venture capital funds.

Chronocam’s proprietary approach to computer vision makes use of its deep expertise in neuromorphic vision sensing, which mimics the human eye, and processing, which mimics the human brain. Because of the efficiencies it realizes through its data capture techniques, the technology can expand conventional vision methods and contribute to better adoption and effectiveness in the automotive market. The Chronocam technology innovation translates into specific benefits for ADAS and autonomous driving applications, including:

• Faster detection of people and obstacles;

• Enhanced robustness of the camera to adapt and detect environmental and contextual conditions;

• Lower overall cost of implementation, making ADAS features more accessible to more vehicles and markets.

The two companies will work together to apply Chronocam’s technology to areas such as collision avoidance, driver assistance, pedestrian protection, blind spot detection, and other critical functions to improve safety and efficiency in the operation of both manned and autonomous vehicles.

Chronocam is developing innovative vision sensors and systems that replicate the functions of the human eye and address the limitations of conventional vision sensors by enabling real-time sensing of the relevant dynamic scene context and acquiring only what is necessary. The result is systems that set a new benchmark for computer vision performance, with unprecedented speed, dynamic range, sensor level video compression, and power efficiency, at the same time.

“We are pleased to be able to work with a global leader and innovator like Renault to apply our technology in a practical way to the challenges of connected, smart transportation,” said Luca Verre, CEO and co-founder of Chronocam. “Autonomous vehicles have unique and demanding requirements that we are well-suited to address, such as requiring faster sensing systems that can operate in a wider variety of ambient conditions. Together, I am confident our two organizations can continue to advance the capabilities of vision-enabled vehicles.”

Gaspar Gascon, executive vice president of product engineering at Groupe Renault, commented, “With the ambition to become one of the first brands to offer ‘eyes-off/hands-off’ technology on mainstream vehicles at affordable price, we’re pleased to work with Chronocam on an innovative computer vision technology, in order to bring to our customers safer and more affordable ADAS and progressively autonomous driving systems.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).