Autonomous vehicles can one day become widespread and drive nonstop, day or night, on sunny days or late foggy and snowy nights. For that to happen, cars must be able to drive safely without being limited by darkness and adverse weather, which accounts for 65% of the year.
Visibility Challenge Compromising Safety
In low visibility conditions, ADAS and self-driving vehicle cameras are blind. AAA reported in 2019 that in all tests evaluating pedestrian detection systems were ineffective in nighttime conditions 100% of the time, and consequently unsafe. Independent tests performed by the DENSE European Research project evaluated the performance of multiple sensing technologies under adverse weather conditions, and concluded that only the GatedVision sensor was able to see all tested targets while others were severely limited. At night and in adverse weather, there are two primary limitations: noise (i.e., backscatter) and contrast, leading to unclear images in standard cameras.
GatedVision is a technology developed and patented by Bright Way Vision and is the only technology that sees through adverse weather, darkness, and glare. Bright Way Vision’s GatedVision-powered camera produces high-contrast images from thousands of micro-exposures per frame with dynamic and variable range slices, and accumulates multiple range slices from varying depths into a single clear frame. It can detect small objects at night and at high speeds, producing high-resolution images.
Bright Way Vision’s compact CMOS-based automotive camera system improves the reliability of any vehicle sensor suite and enables reliable object detection and road visibility in any weather, day and night.
The system is made of two units, a CMOS imager and an illuminator. Unlike LiDAR, the system sends a pulse of light and determines the opening of the camera. By varying the number of pulses and the opening of the camera, it can create slices in different ranges - for example a pedestrian at 30 meters or a car at 90 meters. Each slice provides information for that range. Using a different number of pulses, it can control the shape and range, creating a uniform illuminated scene and getting rid of backscatter. The ability to change pulses is necessary in different weather conditions. The imager’s advantage in the system is its high resolution - 800x480.
In fog, for example, a standard camera is unable to see the image of a pedestrian. Bright Way Vision’s GatedVision automotive camera system doubles the visibility range, using the imager and reducing the reflection to clearly show the pedestrian despite any backscatter.
All-Weather Safety in Action
Powered by GatedVision technology, VISDOM has been validated and qualified by leading automotive manufacturers who have tested it in challenging driving conditions.
Independent tests performed under the DENSE European Research Project evaluated the performance of most of the available sensing technologies, and compared them in chamber and open-road conditions and stress. The GatedVision sensor was the only one able to see throughout the entire range tested, while other sensors were limited to only half the range, and less types of objects detected.
DENSE concluded that the GatedVision sensor is the only one that could see all tested targets, even in dense fog.
Independent tests performed under the DENSE European Research project evaluated the performance of various optical sensing technologies, naming Bright Way Vision's GatedVision camera most effective.
An AAA report published October 2019 examined automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection states that "all evaluated systems were ineffective during nighttime conditions."