FLIR Systems, Inc. announced that its Boson-based thermal sensing technology has been selected by Veoneer, a tier-one automotive supplier, for its Level 5 autonomous vehicle (AV) production contract with a top global automaker, planned for 2021.
The Veoneer system will reportedly be the first in the industry to include multiple thermal sensing cameras that provide both narrow and wide field-of-view capabilities to enhance the safety of self-driving vehicles. Thermal sensing cameras excel in driving situations where other sensor technologies are challenged, including low-visibility and high-contrast conditions. These include nighttime, shadows, dusk, or sunrise; while facing direct sun or headlight glare; and in challenging weather conditions including fog and environmental conditions such as smoke. When combined with analytics, thermal sensing cameras can help detect and classify a broad range of common roadway objects and are especially adept at detecting live people and objects, what AVs want to avoid most.
With the ability to see up to four times farther than headlights at night, thermal sensors detect the heat given off by everything. This offers additional data to the existing suite of AV sensors to improve reliability and redundancy, thereby facilitating better decision making.
“As the automotive industry undertakes the enormous technical challenge of building safe autonomous vehicles, cutting-edge sensing technologies, including thermal, are needed to save lives and provide greater situational awareness in all conditions,” said Frank Pennisi, President, FLIR Systems’ Industrial Business Unit, in a statement. “FLIR’s automotive-qualified thermal sensing cores are a key component of Veoneer’s thermal sensing cameras and systems, which have proven effective on hundreds of thousands of passenger vehicles to date. This selection shows the value of thermal sensing for self-driving applications, paving the way for future adoption by other automotive manufacturers.”
FLIR thermal sensing cores are also part of Veoneer’s fourth generation thermal sensing system scheduled to launch next year. FLIR has been a key partner of Veoneer to support driver early-warning systems in vehicles from General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, Peugeot, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.