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3D vision sensor in cars does driver monitoring and gesture sensing

Date: 19/06/2015
Image processing based three-dimensional gesture sensors for automotives now can help drivers to activate some non-driving functions such as adjust the temperature and radio, or make a phone call through motion gestures, so that the driver not required to physically touch the device/switch/or the touch panel. Melexis and SoftKinetic have combined their physical device and software capabilities to make available a solution based on time of flight (ToF) 3D sensor for automobile safety and infotainment markets. MLX75023 sensor powered by SoftKinetic technology manufactured in Melexis’ Automotive grade CMOS mixed signal process, is the highest resolution 3D sensor available, claims Melexis. The device works in full sunlight, which can be used for natural 3D gesture recognition and driver monitoring, bringing a new level of infotainment navigation control and safety features. Both companies to showcase the technology at the CAR HMi event June 26-27, 2014 in Berlin.

The MLX75023 is a QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) resolution optical ToF camera sensor powered by SoftKinetic’s patented DepthSense 3D Imaging technology, and SoftKinetic’s advanced image processing software. The sensor reads the subtle human gestures as well as the shape, size and behavior of objects and people inside the car. Not only gesture sensing, this sensor also monitors the drivers behavior and context awareness to ensure safety of other passengers vehicles too.

“Our unique ToF sensor has created exciting opportunities for the gaming environment, augmented and virtual realities, and even the living room. Working together with Melexis we have now been able to create a sensor that is robust in full sunlight, perfect for the automobile environment,” said Michel Tombroff, CEO of SoftKinetic. “We are excited about the multitude of possibilities with this sensor, and look forward to the ways car manufacturers will incorporate it into the design of their vehicles’ cockpits and beyond.”

“At Melexis, we pride ourselves on bringing the most innovative and technically-advanced sensors and semiconductor systems to the highly competitive automobile manufacturing environment. SoftKinetic was an excellent fit for us, as their unique DepthSense 3D Imaging technology was unsurpassed in capabilities and function,” said Françoise Chombar, CEO at Melexis. “Our partnership has allowed us to be the first to provide 3D vision to the automotive safety and infotainment markets, and we are confident that these sensors will change the way drivers and passengers enjoy the vehicle experience, as well as ensuring they are better protected from harm.”

Additional features of the MLX75023 sensor include:
• High ambient light robustness
• Suitable for LED or laser illumination
• Sensor modulation up to 40 MHz
• Small glass BGA package
• Up to 600frames/s raw frame rate
• Qualified for AEC-Q100 grade 2