MANHASSET, NY Japanese car maker Honda is applying three-dimensional sensor technology to auto safety.
Honda announced a $5 million investment in Canesta Inc.'s electronic perception technology. Honda, which has invested in Canesta (Sunnyvale, Calif.) over the past three years, said it will use the technology to develop of new automotive safety applications like collision avoidance.
Canesta's image sensors can be concealed in bodywork, trim or in a vehicle dashboard. "It provides a comparatively low-cost, chip-based 3-D 'camera' that could serve multiple applications from a single installation," Toshinori Arita, head of Honda Strategic Venturing, said in a statement.
Canesta's sensors act like camera chips that continuously sense distance to nearby objects and provide a stream of 3-D image data. The distance to objects is calculated by measuring the round-trip time of radio waves traveling from a transmitting antenna to an object and back. Smart sensors calculate the duration it takes the pulse to reflect back to each pixel. The image and distance information are handed off to an on-chip processor running Canesta's proprietary imaging software that further refines the 3-D representation.
The electronic perception technology has been in development for more than six years and is generated at least 17 patents. Canesta was founded in 1999, and investment in the company exceeds $44 million. Investors include Carlyle Venture Partners, JP Morgan Partners, Korea Global IT Fund and Venrock Associates.