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Nissan looks at more organic vision in cars

Technology will enhance collision avoidance and blind spot detection

Published: November 8, 2016, 9:20 PM
Updated: November 13, 2016, 7:41 AM

Chronocam technology

Renault Nissan is looking at a new direction in sensor and computer vision technology that will work more the way the human eye works, all of it edging closer to fully autonomous driving.

At a speech about Roadblocks to Autonomous Driving at Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal, Renault Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn announced his company had entered into a strategic development agreement with France’s Chronocam SA, a developer of biologically-inspired vision sensors and computer vision solutions for automobiles.

For Renault Nissan, that means applying the technology to sensing and processing inputs to the company’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and autonomous driving. Renault Nissan had previously invested in the Paris-based start-up to the tune of $15 million US.

Chronocam’s technology is based on neuromorphic vision sensing (which mimics the human eye) and processing (closer to the way the human brain processes information). The process would improve the ways an autonomous vehicle views the road and its users more effectively.

“We are pleased to be able to work with a global leader and innovator like Renault to apply our technology in a practical way to the challenges of connected, smart transportation,” said Luca Verre, CEO and co-founder of Chronocam. “Autonomous vehicles have unique and demanding requirements that Chronocam is well-suited to address, such as require faster sensing systems which can operate in a wider variety of ambient conditions. Together, I am confident our two organizations can continue to advance the capabilities of vision-enabled vehicles.”

In a nutshell, Chronocam’s technology helps ADAS detect people and obstacles more quickly, enhanced robustness in cutting through environmental and contextual conditions (fog and snow, for example, or a setting sun beaming directly into the camera), and it will improve cost efficiency to make the technology more accessible to buyers of less-expensive vehicles.

“With the ambition to become one of the first brands to offer “eyes-off/hands-off” technology on mainstream vehicles at affordable price, we’re pleased to work with Chronocam on an innovative computer vision technology in order to bring to Renault customers safer and more affordable ADAS and progressively autonomous driving systems,” said Gaspar Gascon, Executive Vice President, Product Engineering, Groupe Renault.

The Chronocam technology will be applied to Renault Nissan’s collision avoidance systems, blind-spot detection and pedestrian protection, among others.