Melexis brings 3D vision to automotive infotainment

25th June 2014
Nat Bowers

Melexis and SoftKinetic announce the first time of flight (ToF) 3D sensor for automobile safety and infotainment markets. The MLX75023 sensor, featuring SoftKinetic technology and manufactured in Melexis’ Automotive grade CMOS mixed signal process, is the highest resolution 3D sensor available. It works in full sunlight, making it a suitable solution for a vehicle’s cockpit.

It can be used for natural 3D gesture recognition and robust driver monitoring, bringing a new level of infotainment navigation control and safety features. Both companies will showcase the technology at the CAR HMi event June 26-27, 2014 in Berlin.

The MLX75023 is a QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) resolution optical ToF camera sensor. Featuring SoftKinetic’s patented DepthSense 3D Imaging technology, and in conjunction with SoftKinetic’s advanced image processing software, the sensor is capable of understanding the most subtle human gestures as well as the shape, size and behaviour of objects and people inside the car. Now drivers can adjust the temperature and radio, or make a phone call, using simple gestures and without taking their eyes off the road. Additional capabilities of the sensor allow for driver behaviour monitoring as well as context awareness, creating a safer environment for every passenger in the vehicle.

“Our unique ToF sensor has created exciting opportunities for the gaming environment, augmented and virtual realities, and even the living room. Working together with Melexis we have now been able to create a sensor that is robust in full sunlight, perfect for the automobile environment,” said Michel Tombroff, CEO of SoftKinetic. “We are excited about the multitude of possibilities with this sensor, and look forward to the ways car manufacturers will incorporate it into the design of their vehicles’ cockpits and beyond.”

“At Melexis, we pride ourselves on bringing the most innovative and technically-advanced sensors and semiconductor systems to the highly competitive automobile manufacturing environment. SoftKinetic was an excellent fit for us, as their unique DepthSense 3D Imaging technology was unsurpassed in capabilities and function,” said Françoise Chombar, CEO at Melexis. “Our partnership has allowed us to be the first to provide 3D vision to the automotive safety and infotainment markets, and we are confident that these sensors will change the way drivers and passengers enjoy the vehicle experience, as well as ensuring they are better protected from harm.”

Additional features of the MLX75023 sensor include:

  • High ambient light robustness,
  • Suitable for LED or laser illumination,
  • Sensor modulation up to 40 MHz,
  • Small glass BGA package,
  • Up to 600frames/s raw frame rate,
  • Qualified for AEC-Q100 grade 2.

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