FLIR Systems releases thermal camera kit for self-driving cars

A high-resolution thermal camera development kit released by FLIR Systems Monday can be used by developers of self-driving cars to make advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) more able to operate in challenging conditions like darkness, fog, smoke, or haze.

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The Thermal Vision Automotive Development Kit (ADK) includes an FLIR Boson thermal camera. The camera uses thermal sensor technology that can detect pedestrians, animals, and other roadside hazards up to four times beyond the reach of traditional headlights.

“FLIR thermal imaging sensors have played a critical role in enhancing driver safety for more than a decade, and using them for advanced driver assistance systems in self-driving cars is a natural evolution,” James Cannon, president and CEO of FLIR, said. “With our latest high-resolution automotive development kit, automakers can develop and integrate thermal imaging technology in self-driving cars easier, faster and with low cost of ownership.”    

In addition to the thermal camera, the kit also includes a low-power, multi-core vision processor.  It’s compatible with the NVIDIA DRIVE autonomous vehicle computing platform.

FLIR  sensors are currently used by General Motors, Peugeot, Mercedes, Audi, and BMW, as well as an aftermarket add-on. ABI Research anticipates that annual shipments of thermal imaging sensors and other night vision systems will increase from 200,000 in 2017 to 4.2 million in 2021.