A journey into automotive vision and sensing.
The future of transportation is rapidly evolving due to the integration of cutting-edge technologies and advancements in automotive sensing and perception systems. This year’s AutoSens conference, held in Brussels from September 19 to 21, provided an illuminating insight into the domain of autonomous driving, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), in-cabin driver and occupant monitoring systems (DMS/OMS), and the continuously evolving field of automotive vision. The choice of the Autoworld museum as the conference venue was particularly fitting, aligning with the conference’s thematic focus. Yole Intelligence had the privilege of being among the approximately 600 attendees this year, where one out of every three attendees represented either an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a Tier-1 supplier.
In this post-show article, Yole Intelligence delivers its vision of the semiconductor devices industry for automotive applications. It is based on the impressive range of automotive analyses once again published this year: Imaging for Automotive 2023 – Status of the Camera Industry (2023 edition coming soon) – Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry – LiDAR for Automotive 2023 – Automotive ADAS Vision SoC Comparison – Automotive CIS Comparison 2022… and more.
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A glimpse into the world of autonomous vehicles
A diverse range of topics were covered, from sensor technologies to artificial intelligence (AI) applications and regulatory considerations. Attendees had the chance of attending sessions led by 75 industry experts who provided valuable insights. Additionally, 64 media members attended the press briefing in person or online in which many of the 46 exhibitors introduced their various technologies and demonstrations.
The conference started with a focus on innovation in imaging and sensing, with onsemi presenting its Hyperlux image sensor series featuring super-exposure pixel architecture. Performance improvements over the split pixel design, particularly for distant object detection, were highlighted.
Leading automotive Tier-1s, including Hyundai Mobis, Zongmu, Valeo, and Panasonic, actively participated in presentations, with a strong interest in the park assist and low-speed maneuvering session. Hyundai Mobis showcased their interesting park assist system. The system memorizes the driver’s path when he moves forward, allowing it to navigate the vehicle autonomously in reverse to park in the designated spot. The presenters anticipated that park assist applications would likely serve as the initial commercial L3-L4 autonomous driving use cases, especially in places such as shopping malls. Experts debated whether camera vision alone could suffice for this critical aspect of autonomous driving. The discussions delved into the advantages and limitations of relying solely on cameras, especially in complex scenarios.
Yole Intelligence was present with Pierrick Boulay in a specific session addressing market research. Pierrick provided an overview of automotive RADAR and LiDAR, computing, and cameras. He highlighted the growth in various sensing technologies, presented the latest market and technology trends, and offered insights into how the number of sensors would increase in the future, including all sensor types.
Pierrick explained the growth of 4D imaging RADAR and the increasing role of computing within the automotive sector. Furthermore, he examined the resolution roadmap for CMOS image sensors in ADAS and viewing imaging applications. Additionally, Pierrick presented an analysis of the LiDAR supply chain for passenger vehicles while providing a comprehensive market overview.
The Autoworld museum entrance featured the L3 autonomous vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, serving as a notable exhibit. A LiDAR with a 5 MP stereo camera was implemented in the front and a 3 MP camera at the rear for automation functions. Notably, the L3 Mercedes vehicle featured a comprehensive 360° surround camera system. The next generation of this car, expected to launch next year, will likely incorporate additional cameras and an upgraded front ADAS camera with an increased resolution of 8 MP.
Automotive image sensor leaders’ battlefield
AutoSens gathered together the automotive image sensor industry leaders. In addition to onsemi, which presented their Hyperlux series as mentioned above, Omnivision presented their new TheiaCel™ DCG + LOFIC solution to achieve LED flicker-free exterior cameras with high dynamic range (HDR). At their booth, Omnivision presented a comparative visualization and analysis alongside a split-pixel sensor.
Moreover, Sony and Samsung demonstrated their cutting-edge, high-resolution image sensor solutions at their respective booths. Notably, both companies featured in-cabin image sensor demonstrations tailored for Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) with advanced eye-tracking capabilities.
Yole Intelligence’s analysts forecast in the recent Imaging for Automotive 2023 report that the automotive camera market was around $5.4 billion in 2022 and the image sensor market $2.2 billion, projected to grow at CAGRs of 9.7% and 8.7%, respectively, to $9.4 billion and $3.7 billion by 2028.
Additionally, the speakers were aligned with our vision about the need to continue increasing the resolution of the image sensors even above 8 MP. Image sensors having a resolution between 1.2 and 1.7 MP have the biggest share of the sensors produced in 2022.
Furthermore, the presence of thermal imaging technologies was particularly remarkable, with four dedicated booths at the event. Notably, Lynred delivered an innovative demonstration showcasing behind-the-windshield imaging in collaboration with Saint-Gobain. This demonstration involved the fusion of images captured by an RGB camera and a thermal camera.
Hands-on demos and interactive exhibits allowed attendees to experience these innovations firsthand, reinforcing the idea that technology is not just theoretical; it’s real and ready to shape our world.
The sensing & perception journey is far from over
As the conference ended, it was clear that the journey of innovation in automotive sensing and perception was far from over. The integration of AI at the edge, the growing importance of data fusion, and the emergence of new regulatory frameworks were all at the forefront of discussions.
Challenges, too, were candidly addressed. Presenters explored the difficulty of achieving robust perception in adverse weather conditions and the ongoing debate around sensor reliability in autonomous vehicles. The knowledge and inspiration gained from AutoSens will undoubtedly continue to shape the trajectory of this dynamic industry.
AutoSens 2023, a journey into the heart of automotive innovation
From thought-provoking discussions to hands-on experiences with cutting-edge technology, AutoSens 2023 provided a comprehensive view of the future of autonomous vehicles and ADAS. Yole Intelligence’s analysts look forward to the insights and connections forged at this event playing an important role in shaping the next chapter of automotive sensing and perception. We are already looking forward to AutoSens 2024, which will take place in Detroit and Barcelona next year.
About the author
Anas Chalak is a Technology & Market analyst at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group, working with the Photonics & Sensing division. He is a member of Yole’s imaging team and daily follows the evolution of imaging technology to provide market and technology analysis. He also contributes to the production of relevant reports and projects.
Previously, Anas carried out research in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology during his masters, focusing on the development of an integrated mid-infrared (MIR) photonic platform on SiGe to generate a configurable supercontinuum light source at the “Institut des Nanotechnologies de Lyon,” France. Later, he worked for a year as a research engineer on the reception components for the optical optimization of a 3D heterodyne FMCW imaging system in CEA-Leti, Grenoble, France.
Anas obtained a master’s degree in Nanoscale Engineering from École Centrale de Lyon, France, where he developed a background in micro-nanoscale phenomena and semiconductor devices and their applications.
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