GatedVision vs. Thermal Cameras: Which Is the Best Solution for Autonomous Vehicles?

The automotive industry has been working on developing AVs (autonomous vehicles) for several years now, but these vehicles still seem to remain a periphery invention and are far from becoming a reality on the roads. It has become clear that to make AVs a common feature of international roads, their safety needs to be guaranteed. This means they require a comprehensive sensor suite to operate safely and effectively. While there is an ongoing debate among mobility experts about the specific mix and configuration of sensors required, thermal imagers have emerged as a potential solution due to their ability to detect objects based on their thermal signatures, even in darkness or low lighting conditions. That being said, these sensors have some limitations that make them ineffective in certain situations.

Limitations of Thermal Sensors

Thermal imagers have a lower resolution than standard cameras, which can make it challenging to detect small objects or to identify objects that are far away. Moreover, inclement weather conditions such as rain, snow, and fog can reduce the effectiveness of thermal cameras. 

Thermal sensors also depend on temperature differences, and people who are heavily dressed (i.e. thick coats in the winter) or objects with a similar temperature to their environment can be difficult to detect. Additionally, thermal cameras cannot be mounted behind the windshield; they require a clear line of sight, which can limit their effectiveness in urban environments where buildings and other objects can obstruct their view.

Advantages of GatedVision

Bright Way Vision’s unique GatedVision technology offers an alternative solution that addresses these challenges and provides full visibility in all weather and lighting conditions, ensuring driver and pedestrian safety throughout the day and year. 

GatedVision’s benefits include:

  • Better Performance in Challenging Weather Conditions:
    GGatedVision performs well in all adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, snow, and fog. The camera system utilizes NIR wavelength and gated illumination, which improves penetration through rain and reduces blinding and glare from other vehicles.

  • Higher Resolution:
    GatedVision uses a high-resolution sensor that enables it to detect and track objects at long ranges, which can improve safety and performance in AVs.

  • Robustness:
    GatedVision provides robust images in all conditions and is non-dependent on ambient lighting. This means that it can perform well in a wide range of environments, including urban and rural areas, and at all hours, including nighttime, dawn, and dusk.

  • Mounting:
    GatedVision can be mounted in different places on the vehicle, including behind the windshield.

Additional advantages include a 3D dense depth map, uniform illumination across all distances, and the ability to create range-based slices for background removal and improved contrast. GatedVision also includes inherent retro detection and shadow-based detection of small, low-contrast targets. The GatedVision camera system can use the same AI networks as any other standard camera and uses well-known industrial processes for its key components (CMOS-based camera) to ensure it is a cost-effective solution.

Making AVs a Reality with GatedVision

For AVs to become a reality on the road, the automotive industry needs an ideal vision system that can guarantee safety. While thermal cameras may be useful in some situations, GatedVision's unique capabilities make it a must-have in the AV sensor suite. 

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