How does the PathFindIR help detect animals and people?
Infrared detects heat, and so it's not reliant on any illumination, be it from your headlights or from streetlights. It relies on the heat generated from animals or people. That's what enables the detection at a great distance, as it sees way past your headlights. When you're driving down the road at night, the environment is generally a lot cooler than in the daytime, but a person or animal radiates heat. This makes it very easy for infrared cameras to see these objects. The tricky part is to build the detection algorithms that say: that's really a person or that's really a deer or an elk. Once the algorithms are in place you not only have the sensitivity of the infrared, but the ability to identify a person or animal very easily.
How easy is it for automotive manufacturers to integrate the PathFindIR that you've developed?
For the PathFindIR aftermarket solution, the customer mounts the camera in the front of the car and basically puts power to it for video feed along with the pedestrian and animal alerts. There are aftermarket screens available to show the night vision feed, but because today’s cars often have screens built in for sat-nav, etc., several companies offer solutions that integrate the PathFindIR video stream into those existing integrated screens.
How effective is the senor in extreme weather and temperature conditions?
Infrared, like any technology, has limitations. Visible cameras don't work well at night and therefore do not give the driver the full situational awareness needed. Infrared cameras need to see a heat differential to optimize the detection algorithms, so are usually best used at night. In some areas of the world at night, if it's very, very hot, and the ambient temperature is the same temperature as a person, then it might be a little bit difficult to automatically detect a person, however most places are not like that.