The spurt in interest and development of Autonomous vehicles is a continuing boost to the growth of electronic devices in the automotive industry. The sensing, processing, activation, feedback and control functions done by the human brain have to be replaced with electronics. The task is proving to be exhilarating and daunting at the same time. The environment sensors – RADAR (RAdio Detection And Ranging), Camera and LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) are enjoying a lot attention with the need for increasingly greater range and resolution being demanded by the “eyes” and faster computation by the “brain”. Even though all three and more sensors (Ultrasonic / Stereo Camera / GPS / etc.) will be used together; this chapter will focus on challenges facing Camera and LIDAR. Anywhere from 2 – 8 cameras and 1 – 2 LIDAR are expected to be part of the sensor suite needed by Autonomous vehicles – which have to function equally well in day and night. Near infrared (800 – 1000nm) devices are currently emitters of choice in these sensors. Higher range, resolution and Field of view pose many challenges to overcome with new electronic device innovations before we realize the safety and other benefits of autonomous vehicles.
Part of the book: Recent Development in Optoelectronic Devices