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VW Reveals Its Thermal Imaging Camera Interface For 2019 Touareg SUV

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【Summary】The latest addition to the range of vehicles lined to incorporate this technology comes from the stables of Volkswagen. The German automaker is going to incorporate thermal imaging cameras into its upcoming Touareg SUV.

Manish Kharinta    May 12, 2018 9:53 AM PT
VW Reveals Its Thermal Imaging Camera Interface For 2019 Touareg SUV
author: Manish Kharinta   

Automakers across the world have used thermal cameras to enhance driver visibility for years. Luxury makes like Mercedes-Benz used the technology to detect obstacles as well as animals and pedestrians to ensure traffic collisions are avoided. As reported earlier, this technology is quickly making its way into road going cars. 

The latest addition to the range of vehicles lined to incorporate this technology comes from the stables of Volkswagen. The German automaker is going to incorporate thermal imaging cameras into its upcoming Touareg SUV. The carmaker has stated that this technology will be used to enhance the night vision features offered in the SUV for the drivers who will buy the next model year of this utility vehicle.

These cameras are very sensitive to the slightest changes in temperature and are capable of detecting temperature fluctuations which might be as low as 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit. This feat is achieved by targeting infrared rays which can respond to radiations which are emitted by humans, animals, living organisms and other objects. 

The technology is also being used in aiding autonomous vehicles as ancillary units which will further safeguard the vehicle's operations. In scenarios where Optical cameras, radars, and LIDARs might stop functioning because of obstacles like bad weather, thermal imaging can step in to make necessary corrections for optimal function. 

Thermal imaging cameras can provide the driver with the information pertaining to the obstacles that lie ahead even when his/her line of vision is obscured. These cameras are capable of detecting obstacles which are within the range of 10 to 230 meters.

The thermal imaging cameras also assist Volkswagen to detect objects that might enter in what the company calls it's ‘Defined corridor'. The Defined corridor is a predetermined parameter of safety which Volkswagen will design for its vehicles. This parameter is utilized by an interface in which the operating system uses infrared cameras to detect the movement of an object which may cause a collision and anticipate its trajectory. 

In the case of an object's trajectory that may result in an imminent crash, the system also sounds off warnings, alerting the driver of the danger, therefore, enhancing his/her response time. This system also acts as a safety feature for the pedestrians as it can determine if a pedestrian is near the road where he/she might be in danger of getting hit by the vehicle. The system relays this information to the driver with the use of a digital instrument panel.

The information is relayed by using several visual media which also includes color-coding different obstacles. The pedestrians are highlighted in yellow along with animals if they're outside the Define Corridor. The driver is alerted of the danger if the pedestrians or the animals come within the possible collision course and they are highlighted on the screen in red. 

The system also uses the car's heads-up display and sounds off a warning chime to signal the driver of the danger, if the vehicle is traveling under 31 mph. In case the speed of the vehicle is over 31 mph, the system will project a red warning signal on the instrument panel even if the thermal imaging display has not come on.  With this recent development, it becomes even more evident that thermal cameras are on their way to becoming a standard safety feature for the cars of tomorrow.

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