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Introduction to the In-vehicle Camera Industry

Jan 04, 2023      View: 296

Nowadays, with the development of smart cars, perception has become an aspect that cannot be ignored more and more. The car perception system is mainly composed of radar and cameras. Among them, the camera has the longest history. With low cost, high technology maturity, and millimeter wave The complementary advantages of sensors such as radar have ushered in the opportunity for both volume and price to rise.


in-vehicle camera


1. Market and Application of In-vehicle Camera


Vehicle cameras are the core sensing equipment of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System). Now the global intelligent driving ushers in the window from L2 to L3/L4, and the number of cameras installed will increase from 3~8 to 8~12. According to CINNO Research's prediction, the number of cameras installed in passenger cars in the Chinese market will exceed 100 million in 2025, and the compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2025 will reach a CAGR of 21%.


At present, car cameras are mainly divided into front-view, surround-view, rear-view, side-view, and built-in cameras.


Among them, the front view camera is mainly installed on the front windshield, generally equipped with 1~4 monocular/binocular cameras, which are used to realize front vehicle collision warning (FCW), lane departure warning (LDW), traffic sign recognition ( TSR), Pedestrian Collision Warning (PCW) and other functions.


The front-view camera can be divided into a front-view main camera, a front-view narrow-angle camera, and a front-view wide-angle camera according to functions. The front-view main camera is used as the main camera in L2-level ADAS; the main function of the front-view wide-angle camera is to identify close-range objects, which can be used in urban road conditions, low-speed driving and other scenarios; the follow-up 8-megapixel lens will be installed on a large scale After that, there is a high probability that it will be banned; the main function of the front-view narrow-angle camera is to identify targets such as traffic lights and pedestrians, and it may also be canceled with the improvement of the main front-view camera and the increase in the field of view.


Surround-view cameras are mainly installed around the car body, generally equipped with 4 to 8 cameras, in order to obtain a panorama after image stitching, realize the panoramic parking (SVP) function, and use the algorithm to realize the road perception function.


The rear-view camera is generally installed on the rear trunk, mainly to realize the parking assist (PW) function, the field of view is 120-140°, and the detection distance is about 50 m.


Side view cameras are divided into two types: side front view and side rear view. Side front view cameras are generally installed at B-pillars or rearview mirrors, and can participate in identifying traffic signs (TSR) and detecting sideways vehicles; side rear view cameras are generally installed At the front fender of the vehicle, it is mainly used to realize functions such as Lane Change Assist (LCA). The field of view of the side view camera is generally 90°, and the detection distance is about 80m. At present, there is also a solution to replace the rearview mirror with a camera, which is called electronic rearview mirror system (CMS).


The built-in camera is mainly used to monitor the status of the driver or passengers to realize the functions of the DMS driver monitoring system and the OMS member monitoring system expanded on the basis of DMS.


2. Structure and Cost of In-vehicle Camera


The hardware structure of the car camera mainly includes optical lens, image sensor (CIS), image signal processor (ISP), serializer, connector, etc.


When the car camera starts to work, the light will pass through the lens, the image sensor will convert the light signal into an electrical signal, and then pass through the A/D (Analog-to-Digital Converter) into a digital image signal, and then it will be processed by the ISP (Image Signal Processor). ) after a series of processing such as color correction and noise reduction, the processed image data is transmitted to the central processing unit via a serializer. The connector is mainly used to fix the camera.


From the perspective of cost, the cost of image sensor (CIS) is the highest, accounting for about 52% of the camera; followed by optical lens, accounting for 20%; the cost of module packaging is not much different from that of lens, accounting for 19%; The latter accounted for more than 90% of the camera cost.


3. Industrial Structure of In-vehicle Camera


Vehicle cameras are mainly divided into three markets: upstream, midstream, and downstream.


Midstream optical lenses, CIS, DSP (ISP), and lens modules are packaged in the automotive camera industry chain and play an important role. The optical lens is composed of upstream optical lenses, filters, and protective films; the CMOS image sensor (CIS) is composed of upstream chip design factories, wafer manufacturing factories, and packaging and testing factories.


The optical lens, glue material, and CIS are jointly packaged for the lens module, and then combined with DSP (ISP) to integrate downstream vehicle camera products.


Currently, automotive camera integration manufacturers mainly include Sony, Desay SV, Magna, Valeo, Continental, Hikvision, Panasonic, Dahua, Aptiv, etc.; lens module packaging manufacturers include Panasonic, Samsung, Qiutai Technology, Valeo, Sunny Optical, O-Film, etc.; DSP (ISP) manufacturers mainly include Sony, Samsung, Vail, Nvidia, Mobileye, etc.


4. Challenges and Opportunities of of In-vehicle Camera


For mobile phone cameras, the main purpose is high image quality. But for vehicle-mounted cameras, the stability, frame rate, and reliability of the camera are particularly important. Therefore, compared with traditional industrial cameras and mobile phone cameras, the working environment of vehicle-mounted cameras puts forward more stringent requirements for products, requiring cameras to ensure working conditions in environments such as high and low temperature, strong low light, hot and humid, and extreme weather. In addition, Pixel upgrades, high dynamics, etc. are also the focus of attention.


Specifically, the vehicle camera requires a temperature of -40~80°C, requires extremely high antimagnetic and shockproof performance and waterproof features, and has a service life of more than 8~10 years. The camera pixels are changing from 30~1 million pixels to 4M, 8M travel, high dynamics require the camera to ensure the use effect when the light changes frequently. In addition, the certification cycle of the vehicle camera is long and the industry barriers are high.


While facing challenges, the automotive camera market is also facing unprecedented opportunities.


Although the concept of smart cars has been spread for a long time, there is still a long way to go before high-level smart cars are fully popularized in the market. At this time, the market for car cameras will usher in a new round of growth.


In the current smart car sensing field, the multi-sensing fusion solution is the choice of most car companies. While putting forward more requirements on the image quality, hardware configuration, and chip computing power of the camera, it also forms the complementary advantages of multi-sensors. In the future market, various factors will jointly promote the development of intelligent driving.


At present, mainstream car companies have increased the number of on-board cameras, and some car companies have begun to improve the pixel standard.


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