SMaL Camera Technologies, the developer of electronic imaging solutions and the creator of the award-winning Ultra-Pocket(R) digital camera, today announced a $3.5 million design win with one of the world’s top five automotive suppliers. The supplier company has selected SMaL’s IM102 wide dynamic range, high sensitivity CMOS imager to provide vision-based driver assistance technologies, which will be released in production vehicles within the next few years.
SMaL’s sensors will be used to enable multiple forward-looking, driver-assisted applications such as lane departure warning, night vision, adaptive cruise control and pre-crash safety systems. Industry experts predict that 3 to 5 cameras could be standard in most passenger vehicles manufactured by 2010.
These vision-based applications are designed to make driving both safer and more convenient. Automotive companies implement the applications by connecting video cameras to computers with sophisticated software. Together, the cameras, computers and software “see” the roadway and automatically provide driver warnings or adjust the vehicle’s speed or direction when objects like pedestrians, cars or lane markings are detected. These applications must function flawlessly in an expansive variety of lighting conditions such as bright sun, dark country roads, on-coming headlights and the entrances or exits to tunnels.
SMaL’s IM102 image sensor provides the best combination of wide dynamic range, low noise and high sensitivity, making it the perfect single solution for the widely varying lighting conditions encountered by today’s drivers. Powered by SMaL’s Autobrite(R), a revolutionary new technology, the IM102’s wide dynamic range is capable of producing clear details in scenes with extreme lighting conditions, such as direct sunlight, backlighting or glare. Other CMOS or CCD imaging solutions produce saturation or deep shadow in such scenes, making them risky and unfit for automotive applications. The IM102 is also capable of producing crisp images in extremely low or near-infrared light, so automotive applications can function at night. And unlike CCD imagers, the IM102 will not bloom when capturing bright objects such as headlights.
“SMaL’s proprietary IM102 CMOS image sensor, Autobrite technology and integrated Imaging Modules are setting the benchmark for wide dynamic range cameras among automotive manufacturers, Tier 1 suppliers, and developers of intelligent transportation systems,” said Maurizio Arienzo, president and CEO of SMaL. “Autobrite provides 1,000 times the dynamic range of conventional video cameras. This technology and our proven ability to deliver high-volume, high-quality solutions, will establish SMaL as the automotive imaging leader and help revolutionize the safety and convenience of driving. SMaL is proud to be partnering with the world’s top automotive companies at the forefront of this exciting effort.”
In addition to enabling vision-based driver assistance systems, SMaL’s technology is being leveraged in the consumer electronics market. SMaL enables existing and future lifestyle digital cameras and camera-enabled devices based on SMaL’s award-winning Ultra-Pocket digital camera solution. In 2002 alone, SMaL shipped over half a million imaging kits to OEM customers in the digital still camera market. This proven delivery experience will help SMaL meet the demanding requirements of its automotive customers.
SMaL also serves the security and surveillance market. SMaL’s Ultra-Wide(TM) and Autobrite technologies enable video cameras that help security professionals increase safety and security with the display of wide-angle views and clear, crisp video content, regardless of extreme variations of brightness within the same scene.