3 November 2022
Kyocera develops first laser headlight with white and near-IR diodes on same optical axis
Japan’s Kyocera Corp has developed an Automotive Night Vision System that can accurately identify collision-risk objects in low-visibility driving conditions, such as at night, or in rain, snow, fog or smoke. The system is expected to reduce traffic accidents and promote safer driving.
The Automotive Night Vision features what is claimed to be the first laser-based headlight that can emit both white (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR) light on the same optical axis, eliminating image parallax and allowing higher-accuracy object recognition than alternative technologies.
The integrated headlight incorporates an extremely bright, high-efficiency, miniaturized gallium nitride (GaN) laser developed by KYOCERA SLD Laser Inc. Furthermore, the system has automatic beam-shaping functionality for the RGB and NIR light that prevents glare for oncoming drivers by automatically shifting visible light into a low-beam pattern when necessary, while the NIR light can remain in high-beam mode.
The system integrates RGB-NIR sensors and a unique ‘Image-Fusion AI Recognition Technology’ (developed by Kyocera’s Advanced Technology Laboratories) for high-performance object recognition. Instead of simply combining the image data from the two sources, Kyocera’s system uses qualitative AI to compare and assess both RGB and NIR images, differentiating between pedestrians and vehicles with high accuracy even in low-visibility conditions.
Picture: Fusion recognition AI technology.
In addition, the firm has developed another generative AI feature to create training data for more cost-efficient learning and product development. Conventional methods require the collection of vast amounts of NIR training data (a time-consuming and costly process). Kyocera’s AI technology generates training data automatically. This approach can significantly reduce training costs while maintaining high accuracy in recognition performance.
Kyocera says that it will continue R&D for this system, aiming for commercialization after 2027. The global market for automotive night vision systems was estimated to be $2.17bn+ in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of more than 16.5% from 2020 to 2027.