Sony's clever image sensor helps autonomous cars see better

The sensor combines anti-flicker and HDR functions

Sony has developed a CCD image sensor that can help autonomous cars make sense of electronic road signs and see better when transitioning between dark tunnels and daylight.

The IMX390 sensor has an anti-flicker function that means images of LED road signs come out clear. As LED signs are often used to indicate temporary road conditions or changes in speed limits, it's important for an autonomous car to be able to recognize them.

On a standard sensor, LED signs appear to flicker or have a strobing effect due to a difference in the rate at which the sensor scans every second and the road sign is displayed. A similar problem is sometimes seen when a conventional camera is pointed towards a television set.

The sensor also has an HDR (high dynamic range) function that means it can see more detail in scenes with high contrast, such as when a car is entering and exiting a tunnel on a sunny day.

Typically an image sensor will be able to see either the scene outside the tunnel with the inside of the tunnel appearing black, or the other way around with the tunnel visible and the outside appearing white.

HDR helps balance this so both scenes are visible -- another important feature for driverless cars so they can see the road ahead in all conditions.

Sony produced a video showing the new sensor in use versus existing sensors:

Until now, the HDR and anti-flicker technologies were available but not on the same sensor, so developers had to choose one of the other, or use two cameras. The new sensor combines both.

Sony will begin shipping samples of the image sensor this month.

The Japanese electronics company is a world leader in image sensors, producing them for both its own cameras and video cameras and those of competitors.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?