A fully automated automobile is not only a possibility but a likely event in the next few years. The critical component to allow the paradigm shift to Advance Driver Assist and Autonomous Driving Systems is a non-mechanical, light-weight 3D camera that can provide 3D range and intensity data without motion distortion.
In 2012, ASC spun out a new company, ASCar, Inc. to focus solely on the automotive industry challenges. ASCar’s Peregrine series of 3D Flash LIDAR cameras have set the bar for solid state time-of-flight cameras that are immune to sun interference, can image through dust, smoke & fog or at night while using Class 1 eye-safe lasers for illumination. By imaging 10% reflective targets up to 200m, the Peregrine series provide unparalleled forward-looking sensors with 3D pixel density that allows object recognition of pedestrians, vehicles or tunnels at long range. With ASCar’s on-board camera original TERSE RISC processors, it is possible to take the co-registered point cloud and intensity data and reduce it to an object list on-the-fly and stream it out of the synchronously operated cameras surrounding a vehicle directly into an ECU.
With an expected life of at least 10000 hours or operation at 30Hz and based on ASC’s space legacy product experience, the Peregrine cameras area available in Forward-looking, Side-looking and Rear-looking sensor configurations. Immune to platform motion, platform vibration and object motion distortion, the cameras image the scene around a vehicle in less than 1mS. The Peregrine’s 3D staring focal plane array is unaffected by direct, strong sun or lens flares from an on-coming headlight. There is no impact on range or intensity measurements. The cameras can be used outdoors or in crowded garage and deliver precise geometry to the ADAS ECU. The 300 gram (~2/3 of a pound) camera, has its own eye-safe laser. It is possible to have dozens units operating in close proximity without interference.
The ASCar website is not providing product or company details at this time. The company will begin promoting its products in 2015.