Thermal cameras and Coronavirus

The future of driving lies in thermal cameras, and no, it has nothing to do with the coronavirus.

Nowadays we all see and hear about the use of thermal cameras in fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These cameras are usually seen at the entrances of high-traffic areas such as hospitals and airports. They measure the body temperature of every person entering the area, making sure they don’t have fever.

But the truth is, this is a wonderful under-use of this awesome technology, a technology that enables faster and safer ways of traveling, especially by self-driving cars.

Autonomous vehicles require, of course, driving in all weather and lighting conditions. This is practically impossible without the use of thermal cameras. Thermal cameras, also known as LWIR (long-wave infrared) cameras, can see a clear image of any object, even in the darkest nights without requiring an external light source, regardless of the color of the object. Thermal cameras can even see through the most challenging weather conditions such as rain, fog, and snow, situations in which regular visible-light cameras are “blind”.

Below are two sets of images of people walking on a dark night.
The visible-light camera (images on the left) can’t detect the person wearing dark clothes (on the left side of the image). In fact, visible light-cameras can’t see dark objects even from a short distance of 20 m, while thermal cameras (images on the right) can see them clearly even from a distance of 100 m!

visible-light vs. thermal camera - pedestrians @20 m
visible-light vs. thermal camera - pedestrians @ 100 m

The QuadSight® automotive vision system offers the most advanced technology, combining both visible-light and thermal cameras, resulting in incomparable obstacle detection capabilities in harsh weather and lighting conditions that will serves as the backbone of future autonomous driving.

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