Report: Chronocam winning in automotive

May 19, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Chronocam AS (Paris, France), a startup company that develops vision sensors for machine vision based on asynchronous pixel sensor technology, is already achieving success in automotive applications according to a Nikkei report.

Chronocam, which surfaced last year (see Asynch image sensor boosts machine vision ), already has a sensor designed-in with major automakers based in Europe and the US for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and is expected to debut in the market in 2019. The account did not name any users of the sensor.

The company, founded in 2014, is backed by Robert Bosch Venture Capital amongst others and uses limited resolution but with an emphasis on optimizing an image sensor for dynamic range, and frame rate and only reads out a pixel location when the change in the charge stored (equivalent to the amount of light falling on the pixel) exceeds a certain value. The coordinates of the of the pixel and the time are output and an image synthesized from this information. This also drastically reduces the bandwidth and energy consumption to output an image.

Chronocam's initial image sensor is QVGA in resolution (320 by 240 pixels) with a pixel size of 30-microns on a side and sampling circuit alongside each pixel.

The sensor can realize a frame rate equivalent to one million frames per second, a dynamic range equivalent to 180dB and a power consumption less than 0.1 percent that of conventional sensors, the Nikkei article said.

So far Chronocam has only made monochrome sensors. Although color sensors would be possible, using overlaid color filters, for many machine vision applications color information is not significant.

Luca Verre, Chronocam's CEO, is due to present its technology at the "Imaging Solutions for Automotive" conference organised by Nikkei May 30 to June 1, 2016, in Akihabara, Tokyo.

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