Friday, April 12, 2024
ElectronicsLG Innotek develops a 'directly heating' camera module that withstands snow and...

LG Innotek develops a ‘directly heating’ camera module that withstands snow and frost

LG Innotek announced that it successfully developed the “High-performance Heating Camera Module” for autonomous vehicles applied with the world’s top ultra-precision optical design and technology. LG Innotek has adopted a strategy to launch a full-fledged drive to preoccupy the autonomous vehicle camera market.

The Heating Camera is a product made by mounting a heater on an Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) camera. Automobile manufacturers are increasingly adopting heating cameras as an indispensable component for safe autonomous driving.

When frost forms on the automotive lens or when it collects snow, it fails to detect obstacles around the vehicle, which may lead to  serious accidents. This is why we need a heating camera that gets sharp images.

  • LG Innotek develops a ‘directly heating’ camera module that withstands snow and frost in freezing temperatures

The “High-performance Heating Camera Module” LG Innotek has developed heats up the bottom of the lens to consume less power (up to 4W) while quickly eliminating snow and frost.

Using the product saves up to half the time conventionally needed to melt away frost.

In a test conducted in an extremely low temperature of -18°C, LG Innotek’s “High-performance Heating Camera Module” restored the resolution of a frozen lens to that in room temperature in just four minutes. In contrast, products currently available takes eight minutes on average to completely eliminate frost covering the lens in the same environment.

The most important feature of the “High-performance Heating Camera Module” LG Innotek developed is that it uses Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) materials. PTC materials reduce the amount of current when the temperature rises above a certain point and maintain the temperature in the appropriate range.

 Thanks to PTC materials’ ability to control temperature, LG Innotek was able to mount a heater at the bottom of the lens, the location optimized to quickly remove snow and frost. This dispels the concern for degrading of the lens performance due to overheating when the lens is heated directly.

Most products available in the market use heat conductors instead of PTC materials. Unlike PTC materials, heat conductors can’t self-regulate temperature, requiring users to install a temperature-controlling circuit on the camera module to prevent overheating. This makes the camera module to become bigger, and customers experience inconvenience due to the change in camera design.

Some brands that use heat conductors has released a heater component that can be installed on top of the camera module to minimize the trouble of changing the product design. In this case, however, the heater indirectly heats the entire camera module. This not only takes longer than direct heating, but also consumes more power due to higher heat loss.

  • ‘Integrated’ the lens and the heater with ultra-precision optical design and technology, enhancing customer convenience

The “High-performance Heating Camera Module” LG Innotek developed is applied with the world’s best ultra-precision optical design and camera module assembly technology.

This allowed LG Innotek to compensate for the shortcomings of the existing products and increased freedom in design by integrating the lens and the heater into a single module. The size of the camera module is about the same as the existing module because the PTC heater is inserted into an empty space inside the camera module and the power sources for the camera and the heater are integrated into one.

Accordingly, customers can replace the product in the same location where the existing camera module was mounted on without the need to change the camera design.

  • “Slated for production in 2027, the module is expected to accelerate LG Innotek’s engagement in the autonomous vehicle camera market.”

An LG Innotek representative said, “The High-performance Heating Camera Module received rave reviews when it was first unveiled at CES 2024 in January. We launched a rigorous promotional campaign targeting global customers with a goal of mass-production in 2027.”

LG Innotek CEO Moon Hyuksoo said, “LG Innotek will strengthen the autonomous sensing solution business delivering differentiated customer value, including Automotive camera modules, LiDAR, and Radars building on our unrivalled camera module technology, and step up our efforts to engage in the future mobility parts market.” 

According to an assessment by S&P Global, experts of market analysis, and the LG Innotek’s internal evaluation, the worldwide market for automotive camera modules is forecast to grow annually on an average rate of 7% from approximately $6,437,000,000 in 2023 to $10,030,000,000 in 2030 with advancements in self-driving technology.

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