Combining OmniVision’s OX03A1Y image sensor with Arm’s Mali-C71 ISP creates a dual-mode camera module for display images and computer vision. (Image source: Omnivision Technologies)

A collaboration between Arm and Omnivision Technologies has yielded a new automotive sensor that the companies are saying captures “the automotive industry’s best image quality across all lighting conditions for rear and surround view cameras.” The sensor can also be applied to range of machine vision applications for ADAS such as lane-departure warnings, blind spot detection, and e-mirrors.

By combining OmniVision’s OX03A1Y image sensor with Arm’s Mali-C71 ISP the companies have created a dual-mode camera module that provides images for human drivers as well as data for computer vision applications. The OX03A1Y captures the images while the Mali-C71 processes the data concurrently, creating two simultaneous image signals – one for humans and one for machine vision.

“OmniVision’s dual-mode image sensor showcases the Mali-C71’s ability to process multiple real-time inputs with one pipeline, capturing both human display and computer vision images with a single image sensor, at the highest possible quality,” Tom Conway, Director of Product Management for Arm’s Automotive and IoT Line of Business, said.

Celine Baron, Staff Automotive Product Marketing Manager at OmniVision added, “This collaboration demonstrates the high performance that can be achieved by combining our premium 2.5-mexapixel image sensor with Arm’s ISP for automotive applications that need both computer vision and human displays from a single camera module.”

The OX03A1Y combines high dynamic range (HDR) light sensing along with dual conversion gain (DCG) to capture details in both the light and dark portions of an image and to capture images while in motion respectively. The sensor also features an RCCB color filter that allows in more light. The 120dB HDR is motion artifact free up to about 85dB thanks to the DCG, according to OmniVision. The combination of the HDR, DCG, and the RCCB color filter makes the sensor particularly adept at capturing images in low light conditions, such as on dark roads, or in situations such as when cars come out of dark tunnels or parking lots into bright, sunny streets.

To make the OX03A1Y an attractive option to automotive engineers, OmniVision has made it available in a 8.0 x 7.2-mm chip-scale package. The idea is to give engineers the functionality of the small camera module without having to sacrifice on the aesthetics of the vehicle. For engineers who are already using the company’s OX03A10 sensor, the OX03A1Y is available as a drop-in replacement with sensor fusion capabilities.

Chris Wiltz is a Senior Editor at  Design News covering emerging technologies including AI, VR/AR, blockchain, and robotics