ToF sensor supports functional safety applications

ToF sensor supports functional safety applications

New Products |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Chip manufacturer Melexis is strengthening its position in time-of-flight (ToF) technology with a further expansion of its product range. The new MLX75027RTI ToF camera makes it possible for electronics designers to meet the functional safety requirements of automotive as well as industrial customers.

The MLX75027RTI offers VGA resolution and is intended for use in safety-critical systems that require ASIL or SIL certification. It has a spatial resolution of 307 kilopixels. The manufacturer cites dynamic airbag suppression (to prevent airbags from being deployed unnecessarily), driver attention monitoring, and close-range lidar as key use cases. Beyond automotive use cases, the device can also be used to delineate safety zones for industrial cameras, support robot motion control, and enable more advanced image processing.

Pivotal to the MLX75027RTI is a backside illuminated (BSI) imaging technology. It combines Melexis automotive expertise with Sony’s proprietary DepthSense ToF pixel. The MLX75027RTI delivers an exceptional speed of 135 depth frames per second.

This sensor package is significantly smaller than our current generation device, resulting in 50% reduction in size. Consequently, more compact imaging systems can be developed. Optimization of the chief ray angle of the integrated MLA (Micro Lens Array) simplifies the overall optical system. The new MLX75027 is available in both automotive and industrial variants. The MLX75027RTI is designed for automotive usage and features a -40˚C to +105˚C temperature range, while the MLX75027STI is for industrial applications with a -20˚C to +85˚C temperature range. Another important feature of the MLX75027 family is its proven sunlight robustness, meaning the signal quality is not affected by the external environment.

To help engineers with designing and implementing their ASIL/SIL systems, Melexis provides dedicated safety integration guidelines.

“The emerging NCAP regulations will boost the use of in-cabin monitoring for safety applications. It will become increasingly essential in industrial and mass market applications too,” states Gualtiero Bagnuoli, Optical Sensors Marketing Manager at Melexis. “Our time-of-flight sensor family is already broadly used. Now, with the introduction of the MLX75027RTI, we support system-level functional safety integrations.”



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