Samsung's latest HDR imaging chip is designed for vehicle camera systems

·Associate Editor
·2-min read

Cars are loaded with cameras these days, including on the front and rear, mirrors, side-sensing cameras and driver monitoring cameras. Samsung is trying to attack that market with a specially-designed automotive sensor that uses some unique technology to adapt to both low and bright lighting situations, the company announced

A touch smaller than sensors used on smartphones, the ISOCELL Auto 4AC offers 1,280 x 960 resolution but has a unique "CornerPixel" arrangement. Within a single pixel areas it uses both 1 micron and 3 micron photodiodes, with the latter used for capturing images in low light situations. Much like Sony's HDR automotive sensor, it can capture video at night while also adapting to fast-changing lighting situations like in tunnels. 

Samsung's latest HDR camera chip is designed for automotive applications
Samsung's latest HDR camera chip is designed for automotive applications

"With two photodiodes capturing images in different exposures simultaneously, the sensor offers up to 120dB HDR with minimal motion blur, allowing smoother transitions between dark and bright areas while preserving more details of the road ahead," according to Samsung. At the same time, it can mitigate flicker issues with LED lights over 90 hertz used in headlights, street lamps and other sources. 

Samsung is rumored to have won a $436 million dollar contract to supply "the largest US EV maker" with camera modules that would replace rearview mirrors, according to the Korea Economic Daily. That automaker is rumored to be Tesla and the vehicle may be the Cybertruck, which has cameras in the front fenders rather than rearview mirrors, as Electrek has noted. All that said, however, the new sensor launch may be unrelated and for now, cameras still can't legally replace side mirrors in the US. 

As with other automotive-grade sensors, the ISOCELL Auto 4AC can withstand temperatures ranging from -40 to 125 degrees Celcius, and can be adapted to both human (mirrors, backup cameras etc.) and machine (self-driving) systems. The sensor is currently in production so it could appear in cars in the near future. 

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