For a high degree of autonomy, it is essential to map the entire environment with the greatest possible depth of information. In this context, three-dimensional detection of the environment in combination with reliable object recognition plays a key role. Fraunhofer IMS develops optical sensor systems that are based, for example, on the LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) measurement method. Apart from three-dimensional detection, the environment can also be imaged using infrared-sensitive sensors (IRFPAs). Both methods are also suitable at night, when conventional camera systems can no longer see anything. To detect the slightest differences in heat, Fraunhofer IMS has developed microbolometers, individual sensitive pixel elements that allow infrared scenes to be recorded in a compact system.
Sensor fusion with other detection methods creates more redundancy and a secure basis for navigation decisions. With "early sensor fusion", raw sensor data (as from LiDAR) are combined with other sensor data before image processing and before losses in information occur.
LiDAR target simulators link physical measurements with the virtual world. This will allow rapid product testing and reproducible development environment for LiDAR sensors in the future.