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Sharp black box for vehicles has 180° vision

Sharp has developed a black box for the Japanese market that can record up to six hours of travel. The heart of the high-tech travel recorder is a 2 MP CMOS sensor in 1/4 format, combined with a 180° lens in order to record what happens across the entire width of the road. Equipped with roller shutters, the camera module achieves shutter speeds of up to 30 images a second with a dynamic range of 100 dB. As a comparison: the human eye can take in around 14 images a second with a dynamic range of 105 dB...

PRESS SUMMARY

World's First Motor Vehicle "Black Box" Data Security StandardNew camera system records what's happening on the road with a 180° lens and records up to six hours of travel. Optimised CCD and CMOS automotive camera modules soon also to be used as sensors for pre-crash and driver assistance systems in Europe.

Painstakingly detailed work to reconstruct the circumstances of traffic accidents will soon be a thing of the past, at least in Japan. Sharp has developed a black box for the domestic market that can record up to six hours of travel. The heart of the high-tech travel recorder is a 2 MP CMOS sensor in 1/4 format, combined with a 180° lens in order to record what happens across the entire width of the road. The black box system comes in two versions, one for rear-view and the other for the front-view applications.

CCD and CMOS modules are also becoming increasingly popular in Europe as sensors for camera-supported driver assistance systems. Sharp will be offering optimised CCD and CMOS automotive camera modules within the next one to two years for this extremely fast-growing market (42% annual growth).

The state-of-the-art devices in cameras for passive driver assistance systems that serve primarily as visual aids for the driver are the highly sensitive CCD modules as offered by Sharp. They deliver beautifully clear images, thanks to their light sensitivity of just 1.8 lux – the equivalent of the ambient light of a moonlit road. Through improved software, the next generation of Sharp CCD modules will superimpose automatic guidelines that will mark the danger zone, e.g. when reversing. CCD modules are still ahead at the moment, due to their light sensitivity but, in the long term, CMOS modules will be used more and more as rear-view cameras. Once the CMOS sensors have achieved the necessary image performance in dark environments, they will also bring a whole host of further advantages with them, such as lower costs, higher resolution and, above all, a more compact design, as the image processor can be integrated directly onto the camera chip.

CMOS is the technology of choice for sensors for active driver assistance systems that intervene automatically in driving if there is a hazard. High frame rates and dynamics (greater than 100dB) are required, particularly for front cameras, in order to get clear images under even the most extreme light/dark contrast conditions. Equipped with roller shutters, the next generation of Sharp CMOS camera modules for active driver assistance systems achieves shutter speeds of up to 30 images a second with a dynamic range of 100 dB. As a comparison: the human eye can take in around 14 images a second with a dynamic range of 105 dB.

Additional information: World's First Motor Vehicle "Black Box" Data Security Standard
July 20, 2009
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