TheiaCel tackles LED flicker exterior cameras

TheiaCel tackles LED flicker exterior cameras

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Omnivision has shown its first automotive image sensor using its TheiaCel technology that addresses LED flicker.  

The Omnivision OX08D10 is an 8 megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensor to reduce LED flicker in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) that is 50% smaller than other sensors.

It uses a 2.1-micron (µm) pixel with lateral overflow integration capacitors (LOFIC) and Omnivision’s DCG high dynamic range (HDR) technology to eliminate LED flicker regardless of lighting conditions.

In the automotive market, flicker from LED traffic lights poses a serious challenge for imaging, preventing ADAS and AD systems from correctly detecting lighted traffic signs.

TheiaCel uses a single pixel with the LOFIC capacitor underneath rather than a split diode. This allows all the 2.1um pixel can sense the light which is why the low light sensitivity improves and gives better colour reproduction with less cross talk.

When the pixel becomes saturated the overflow goes to the capacitor, and the sensor first reads out the diode and then the LOFIC. This increases the full well capacity of the pixel and allows one exposure with a high dynamic range of 115dB. A short second scan can boost this to 140dB.

“The OX08D10 image sensor provides automotive OEMs with one device that combines all of the most important features, including low-light performance, LED flicker mitigation (LFM), small size and low power, eliminating the need for our customers to make performance/design compromises to address LED flicker, as they have in the past,” said Paul Wu, automotive product marketing manager, Omnivision.

“This is not just for automotive, we can use it for all segments,” he said.

“LFM, HDR and high resolution have become essential prerequisites in modern automotive image sensors to achieve higher autonomy vehicles,” said Anas Chalak, technology &  market analyst, Imaging at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group. “By 2028, we expect the ADAS camera market volume to reach around 105M units and the overall automotive image sensor market to expand to $3.7billion, experiencing a CAGR 22-28 of 8.7%.”

Some previous approaches, while achieving satisfactory LFM, have resulted in reduced image quality, especially at high automotive temperatures.

The sensor also has upgraded cybersecurity to meet the newest MIPI CSE version 2.0 standards, which adds functional safety to automotive image sensor data streams.

Samples are available now, and the OX08D10 will be in mass production in the second half of 2024. The relationship with system providers is key says Wu.

“It is critical to have a close working relationship with the platform developers and design a sensor with the technical input on performance and packaging,” he said. The company works with Mobileye, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Renesas.


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