Automotive Vision Systems: How Sheba’s MEMS Actuator Technology Revolutionizes Camera Performance - Sheba Microsystems Inc.
From electric vehicles to autonomous vehicles, automotive technology is advancing at a breathtaking rate. As we navigate the changes to come in automotive technology, the role – and critical importance – of cameras in modern vehicles cannot be overstated.
From self-parking to enabling advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), and the deployment of autonomous vehicles, cameras play a pivotal role in enhancing road safety for everyone on the road today.
However, a significant challenge for automotive camera technology is the degradation of image quality due to temperature fluctuations.
The Problem to Solve
As temperature changes, the lens assembly undergoes thermal expansion, leading to image blur as the image plane shifts away from the image sensor plane. This challenge has limited automotive cameras, and especially front-view cameras, from offering high-resolution imaging. High-resolution imaging in front-view cameras is of course a critical factor in enabling enhanced safety for vehicles.
Addressing this problem of thermal expansion is the key to unlocking a multitude of benefits for improved automotive vision systems.
Introducing: Sheba Microsystems Revolutionary MEMS Autofocus (AF) Actuator for Active Athermalization in Embedded Vision Cameras
While smartphones have tackled this challenge by using autofocus actuators – such as electromagnetic actuators or VCMs – these actuators are not reliable in achieving active athermalization in automotive/ADAS cameras.
This is due to the fact that 1) they are unreliable in extreme environmental conditions (-40 to +125 °C) and 2) the optics of these cameras is around 30 times larger than the optics of smartphones.
Other autofocus systems, such as tunable lenses (liquid, piezo, or polymer-based), are also not ideal solutions for achieving active athermalization because they lack thermal stability across the temperature range, and the quality of the optical system is compromised in terms of refractive properties. The same challenge faces SMA-based actuators, they are not thermally stable and only operate normally within a limited temperature range (<+65 °C), which is not compatible range for most of the embedded vision cameras including automotive.
Sheba Microsystems has developed an innovative solution to address this long-standing industry problem.
Our cutting-edge technology utilizes a silicon-based MEMS actuator platform, which actuates the image sensor along the optical axis to compensate for thermal expansion in the optics. The weight of the image sensor is only 2-3 % of the optical lens, which makes it easier to handle, thus enabling ultra-fast and precise autofocus performance – even when temperatures fluctuate.
MEMS actuators are uniquely suited to solve this issue, as they are thermally stable (operating normally within -40 to 150 °C range) and maintain consistent performance regardless of temperature changes. They are also fast, precise, low power, and small in size.
How Sheba’s technology revolutionizes the automotive industry:
- Enhanced Safety: Sheba’s MEMS autofocus technology for active athermalization ensures that ADAS features such as lane-keeping assistance, collision avoidance, and adaptive cruise control operate flawlessly, reducing the risk of accidents.
- Improved Image Quality: Sheba’s MEMS technology results in sharper and more stable footage, essential for precise object detection and recognition, even in challenging driving conditions.
- Lens design flexibility: Our technology offers flexibility in lens design to match the growing trend of automotive sensors towards high pixel resolution. Forward-facing cameras can now detect long-range objects, traffic signs, and pedestrians with ease.
- Expanded Autonomous Driving Capabilities: Autonomous vehicles rely heavily on cameras for perception. Ensuring the durability of MEMS components is critical for the safe deployment of self-driving cars.
- Innovative In-Car Experiences: Stable MEMS autofocus technology can also be utilized for in-cabin cameras (Driver and Occupant Monitoring Systems) which play a crucial role in the safety of the driver and the passengers of the vehicle.
The potential benefits of Sheba Microsystems’ new MEMS actuator technology are far-reaching, from reducing accidents and maintenance costs to enabling the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles. Learn more about how Sheba Microsystems is revolutionizing the automotive industry by visiting www.shebamicrosystems.com.