A new generation of vehicle sensors will be developed and marketed following the announcement of a partnership between UK-based QinetiQ and First Technology.
An occupant position sensor based on thermal imaging, a rain sensor and a tyre pressure sensor will be included in the initial phase of development.
QinetiQ and First Technology will both form teams to identify the most appropriate technology within QinetiQ for product development. Concept prototypes will be developed for evaluation by vehicle manufacturers, with First Technology responsible for the manufacture of the sensors.
The thermal camera is a device designed to detect small and out-of-position vehicle occupants, enabling manufacturers to better comply with smart airbag regulations. The thermal camera can also be used for ‘driver assist’ purposes where it will be used to detect objects outside the vehicle, such as pedestrians, for collision avoidance or mitigation systems.
The rain sensor uses an optical technique that allows the sensor to image multiple planes simultaneously and ‘see’ the windscreen (both inside and outside) as well as images in front of the screen. As well as detecting rain externally the device can detect moisture or ‘fogging’ internally. The sensor also benefits from the fact that it does not need to be fixed to the windscreen and this reduces maintenance costs in the event of damage to the screen.
The tyre pressure sensor is a device that directly monitors air pressure within the tyre. The sensor has been developed to work without being powered by a battery and is therefore not subject to the potential issue of failure due to battery charge or condition.