QVGA, VGA Time-of-flight sensors monitor car interiors

November 13, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Chipmaker Melexis has announced an upgrade to Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology for the automotive industry. The company’s ToF product range now includes a next-generation QVGA ToF sensor chipset and a forthcoming VGA ToF sensor. With these developments, the company is completing its solution portfolio for in-cabin sensing solutions. 

The new sensors are AEC-Q100 qualified and suitable for a wide range of automotive applications including gesture recognition, driver monitoring and people and object detection. The MLX75024 ToF QVGA sensor doubles the sensitivity of the previous generation while maintaining the same resolution (320 x 240 px) and ambient light robustness. This allows it to operate in lower light levels or reduce the illumination power required by at least 30%.

System efficiency is further enhanced by a 50% reduction in current consumption and the resulting lower heat generation allows the design of more compact cameras. A new selectable gain feature allows designers to find the optimum trade-off between illumination power, accuracy and ambient light robustness. As a result of the improvements mentioned above, the SNR is two times better in low light conditions and distances greater than 1m. As an additional improvement, the sensor now integrates an on-chip temperature sensor, reducing system size and cost.

To support the ToF sensor Melexis has developed the MLX75123BA companion chip, which offers a three-fold improvement in front-end noise over its predecessor. The companion chip is used to configure parameters such as pixel gain, and now supports pixel binning to simplify hardware and software for lower resolution applications. An evaluation kit (EVK75024) supporting the new QVGA ToF chipsets is also available.  

As in-cabin monitoring develops, future applications that will require even higher resolution and greater integration. To meet this need, Melexis has developed a new, fully integrated, VGA sensor. This device is based upon a backside illuminated (BSI) ½” 640 x 480 pixel array.  Initial sampling to automotive customers will start early 2019 together with the release of the evaluation kit for the new automotive VGA ToF sensor. 

More information:   www.melexis.com


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