CMOS Image Sensors – Autonomous Driving

On the way to a self-propelled vehicle

3-axle rover with LiDAR system
© Fraunhofer IMS
The LiDAR Owl system enables the rover to drive autonomously with independent avoidance manoeuvres.

The development of autonomously driving cars is of great importance of modern society, because the lifetime that a person spends in the car is not lost anymore, but can be used for many purposes. Moreover, people with handicaps because of old age or limited mobility will be able to be mobile again. The drivetrain works highly efficient which will forward the transition to emission-neutral mobility, especially in the urban sector. Because 90 percent of all accidents can be traced back to human error, the automation will also come with a decrease of the accident rates.

As the recent years have shown, we need to be sure to not create new risk factors for traffic by using insufficient assistance systems (ADAS), the development of robust, error and failure-free working ADAS technology for autonomous driving is of great importance.

In this context the three-dimensional detection of the environment in connection with secure object detection is a key factor. The Fraunhofer IMS LiDAR (light detection and ranging) measurement process functions as a door opener. Only this technology makes it possible for ADAS systems to be designed resistant to interference light and blinding guaranteeing a reliable determination of the distance and kind of object, regardless of the traffic situation. Therefore, LiDAR cameras are dependent on fast and reliable detectors, especially in complex and dynamic scenarios, like they occur in traffic. In the Fraunhofer IMS LiDAR cameras for autonomous driving a threedimensional image of the environment is generated out of a few hundred eyesafe measurements per frame. All of the measurement performance determining elements of a LiDAR system, beginning with the real scenery modeling, over the characteristics of the laser source and the CSPAD receiver and the high-resolution timepiece (time-to-digital converter, TDC) up to the algorithms for signal filtering, are taken into account for the application in autonomous driving. The core technology in form of the Fraunhofer IMS CSPAD detectors is available on-site in a certified CMOS process technology according to automotive industry standard.

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Fraunhofer IMS has the experience and the competences to develop custom-made CMOS image sensors and manufacture them in an 8-inch CMOS line.


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