From blind-spot sensors to GPS and LED lamps, the automotive world has silently progressed from low-tech to high-tech. Despite the industry’s ups and downs, larger automakers such as GM and Audi are making progress to become leaders in the high-tech vehicle arena.
Optical experts, researchers, and manufacturers working to enhance the science of optics and photonics are behind all of this technology now nestled into vehicles. The upcoming vehicle system photonics make cars safer, more environmentally friendly, and more energy-efficient. Here is a quick run through how photonics is bringing in innovation in-vehicle systems.
What is Photonics?
Photonics is a physical science that deals with generating, detecting, and manipulating tiny light particles called photons. The actions are carried out the various processes which are-
- signal processing,
- amplification, and
Despite covering all of light’s technical applications across the entire spectrum, most photonic applications are in the visible and near-infrared ranges.
Photonics includes lasers, optical fibers, phone cameras, and displays, optical tweezers, and lights in cars, homes, computer screens, and televisions, to name a few.
Implementation of Vehicle system photonics
Despite the economic downturn, global car production is predicted to quadruple in the next 20 years. The automobile industry is aggressively approaching its goal to provide self-driving vehicles to the masses. The purpose of expanding automotive automation is to push the development of new technologies in robotics, electronics, communication, software, and photonics, among other domains.
As a result, photonics is being more widely used than just for illumination. Aside from that, the technology opens up many possibilities for intelligent mobility and autonomous driving in smart cities.
The photonic technologies offered to the automotive sector can be grouped into two groups- application domains and uses.
- ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System): driver assistance technologies
- Interior: technology used inside the automobile
- Exterior: technologies used outside the car
- Green car and production: technologies that enable environmentally-friendly driving and manufacture
- Driving safety: technology used to improve driving safety.
- Comfort: technology that enhances the driver’s and passenger’s comfort.
- Entertainment: technologies utilized to keep passengers entertained, and in the near future, the driver himself.
Application of vehicle system photonics
Inside the vehicle, cameras can be used to monitor the driver’s attentiveness. There are two types of technologies for driver attention monitoring.
Direct driver monitoring
The technology detects or measures parameters related to the driver. It contains cameras for monitoring the driver’s face or bioelectrical signals.
Indirect driver monitoring
The technology measures driving parameters and show that the driver’s attention is waning. It has cameras that monitor lane departures.
Techniques based on remote monitoring of bioelectrical signals like heart rate are being researched and are under progress in terms of dependability before being adopted.
The other uses of vehicle system photonics in an automotive can be classified based on its purpose of use.
- Driver sleepiness is monitored using cameras.
- Thermopiles are used to detect the presence of passengers.
- Camera for backup.
- For Adaptive Cruise Control and collision avoidance, LIDAR and cameras are used.
- A lane departure warning system is installed.
- For night vision and pedestrian safety, active and passive infrared devices are available.
- Mirrors, Fresnel lenses, and other blind spot detecting devices
- Photodiodes, infrared sources for rain detection, and luminosity monitoring are all examples of photodiodes.
- Headlamps that adapt to the environment
- Intelligent Speed Adaptation uses cameras and scanners to recognize traffic signs.
- VLC (Visible Light Communication) is a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication system for traffic and safety issues.
- HUDs, holography, projectors, and augmented reality Halogen lamps, HID (High-Intensity Discharge), LEDs, Lasers, and OLEDs for headlights and signal lights
- Gesture recognition and proximity detection cameras
- Spectroscopy is used to check the quality of the air outside.
- Gesture recognition using active infrared systems.
- For car-to-X communication, optical communication (photodiodes, VLC) is used.
- Surveillance cameras for the rear passengers.
- HUD and HMD give the driver with basic information such as GPS, speed, and fuel usage.
- Media Oriented Systems Transport for communication between media in the car.
- Passengers’ LCDs are made of plastic optical fiber and electrochromic displays.
Until recently, photonics has only been implemented into cars through lighting features. However, the extensive application of vehicle system photonics is taking over imaging, sensing, smart displaying, and media transmission networks.