GENEVA -- STMicroelectronics announced its first high-dynamic-range CMOS camera specifically tailored for the vision-based driver-assistance segment of the automotive market. The new sensor combines the company's world-class expertise in automotive markets together with leading-edge CMOS imaging technology.
The role of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is to increase the driver's awareness of conditions around their vehicle, detecting dangers and providing support in hazardous situations. It is estimated that more than 90% of all automobile accidents involve human error and many could be eliminated with automatic warning systems. The extended range of the new CMOS sensor from ST provides superb images even in extreme illumination conditions, providing real-time information for active safety systems. ST's CMOS sensor complements the dedicated vision-processor family developed by the company via its collaboration with Mobileye, and increases ST's automotive IC portfolio for the fast-growing ADAS market.
The new VL5510 sensor feeds the decision-making vision processor that activates functions such as active braking and lane-departure warning. These are features that are already being rolled out on passenger vehicles and is planned to be mandatory in Europe for heavy vehicles from 2013, as part of the European Commission's drive to reduce road fatalities.
"The VL5510's detection capabilities dramatically increase the reliability of vision-based advanced driver assistance systems in even the most difficult environmental conditions" said Marco Monti, General Manager of the Powertrain and Safety Division within ST's Automotive Product Group. "By combining the company's world-class automotive and imaging experience, we have created a dedicated device that will power systems that can help avoid accidents."
This new VL5510 sensor has a 1024x512-pixel format, making it suitable for wide-angle products, which are common in the automotive environment. The VL5510 also combines a very high level of performance with the flexibility and reliability expected for this market. Specifications include: 5.6 x 5.6-micron pixel size; very high sensitivity (7.14V/lux), very low dark current of 33aA/pixel at 25 degrees C, and high QE (Quantum Efficiency) at 'near infra-red'. Additionally, system flexibility offers ADAS manufacturers the opportunity to tune the system optimally for each application, with features such as fully programmable output image size and frame rate (up to 34 fps); video delivered via 12-bit parallel interface or serial interface (RAW 8/10/12 format). Anti dark sun and defect pixel correction algorithms are also integrated, together with an image histogram is embedded in the delivered image. The high dynamic response of the sensor is fully programmable: 10 knee points are available to tune pixel response.
The device is currently sampling to lead customers and will be in mass production in automotive applications in early 2009. Pricing is expected to be in the range of $20 for bare-die quantities of 10,000 pieces.