LG Innotek to promote “Thermal Imaging IR Camera Module” business

LG Innotek announced the company is promoting the thermal imaging infrared camera module business. The company plans to build the foundation for the business early on through win-win cooperation with a venture company as well as through technologies and expertise of the world’s top smartphone camera module business.

The thermal imaging camera senses the far-infrared heat energy of 8 to 14 micrometer (?) wavelength emitted by an object and displays it as an image. It is useful because it can grasp the shape and position of an object regardless of lighting or weather, but it is expensive and is mainly used in special fields such as military and industrial safety.

LG Innotek intends to make inroads into the market with thermal imaging camera modules, whose thermal sensing and image processing performance and price competitiveness have been greatly enhanced by the innovative technologies. The company will launch its first original products in the second half of next year.

The company is accelerating the in-house development of core technologies from sensors to module design and production process to develop thermal imaging camera modules.

In particular, LG Innotek is expanding its cooperation with domestic venture companies to secure thermal imaging sensor technology. Recently, the company started the joint development of the next generation thermal imaging sensor together with Truwin.

Truwin is a sensor manufacturer specializing in infrared ray (IR) sensor technology. In particular, Truwin has been highly regarded for its high-speed deposition and material processing technologies, which are important in image sensor manufacturing.

Meanwhile, LG Innotek is confident that it will be able to achieve world-class quality in the design and production of thermal imaging camera modules. This is because the structure and manufacturing process of this module is similar to those of the smartphone camera module. The company has been the number one in the global smartphone camera module market for 7 consecutive years.

LG Innotek has an ambition to grow the market for thermal imaging camera modules. The company thinks that improving the performance and lowering the price will expand the fields of application rapidly as the utilization value of the camera module has already been proven. The first goal is to expand the market from military application to non-military applications such as home appliances, automobiles, and drones.

When the thermal imaging camera module is used for home appliances, it can implement customized functions considering the user’s position and body temperature. In the case of air conditioners, cooling power can be adjusted according to the body temperature of the person to provide cool air optimized for him/her. The central cooling position can be automatically adjusted according to the position of a person or a pet.

In addition, the thermal imaging camera module can be applied to advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for automobiles as well as to autonomous driving system to improve driving safety. This is possible because the thermal imaging camera module can recognize animals and people quickly and accurately even at night. If the product is used in the drones, it can make nighttime rescue activities more efficient.

According to the market researcher Yole Développement, the global thermal imaging camera market is expected to grow from US$ 3,325 million in 2018 to US$ 4,385 million in 2022 (1).

Park Jong-seok, CEO of the company, said, “The thermal imaging camera module is a product that can make our life safer and more convenient.” He also said, “We will continue to release competitive thermal imaging camera modules so that they can be utilized more widely in various areas.”

(1): Camera Module Industry Market and Technology Trends 2017 report, Yole Développement

Photo caption : LG Innotek researchers test its “Thermal Imaging IR Camera Module”