Most of the industry observers have two basic questions since a fatal car crash in Uber, Arizona, last month. Why didnt the autopilot see Elaine Hertzberger (ElaineHerzberg) cross the street and stop before she hit her? How can we prevent this from happening again? Pictorial: thermal imaging cameras can detect tiny differences in temperature beyond 100 meters, even if they are only 0.1 degrees. Uber has suspended its testing plan indefinitely and is conducting joint investigations with the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). NTSB has not yet disclosed any findings, but whether there is a problem with the laser radar installed on the vehicle is currently the focus of controversy. Perhaps it has a blind area of observation, or lacks the strategy of defining Herzberg as a pedestrian. Maybe the cars software cant turn these data points into brakes or avoid her decision. No matter what happens, the accident will make the safety of autopilot become the focus of debate in the industry. Thats why a company called Flir has discovered a new market opportunity: equipped with thermal imaging cameras for autopilot cars. The thermal imaging camera is very good at seeing what you dont want to touch, said Mike Walters (MikeWalters), head of Flir, a company based in Oregon, USA. He stressed, of course, this is a man. Traditional cameras are often observed in the visible range, while Flirs thermal imaging sensors focus on infrared spectroscopy. The thermal imaging camera can detect tiny temperature differences - only 0.1 degrees of temperature change - so that even on cold nights, the cold metal of a bicycle can stand out from the surrounding environment. The detection distance is as high as 240 meters and can match the most powerful lidar sensors in the market. Moreover, unlike lidar systems, these sensors are not affected by smoke or direct sunlight. Thermosensitive sensors have been used in various scenes, such as hot homing missiles, detecting corrosion fuses in electronic devices, and finding people in burning buildings. Flir is not the only company dedicated to developing heat imaging cameras. We improve the durability of thermal imaging cameras in mobile state, and constantly reduce their energy consumption, so that they can be used with mobile phones. We can also install it on the sight of the gun so as to detect the firing position of the opponent. Flirs competitor, Tim Lebow, head of SeekThermals strategic division, pointed out that TimLeBeau. In this case, even in the most bumpy situation, putting these cameras on the car is not a difficult task. Illustration: Flir has been applying machine learning technology to infrared imaging readings, helping computers learn to identify objects such as pedestrians and bicycles. Flir has embarked on the next logical step, which is training train computers to identify obstacles. The company has been applying machine learning to infrared imaging data to help computers learn to identify pedestrians and riders, like other people do to traditional camera data. Flir hopes to develop a system that uses thermal imaging cameras to automatically detect obstacles, and reminds drivers to brake in time even according to circumstances. From this driver assistance system, it is easy to imagine a fully automatic thermal image sensor. It will not replace todays traditional vehicular radar, visible light cameras and laser radar, but a supplementary means - another way to identify road obstacles. One of the key advantages of a thermal imaging camera is their complementarity, said Karl Iagnima, chief executive of Nutonomy, a Boston based autopilot company. The company was bought by car supplier Delphi last year. He pointed out that thermal imaging cameras can work in bad weather or in a dark environment. Of course, the thermal imaging camera is not perfect. First of all, they are too expensive. For example, the price of SeekThermals camera is around $2500, and the company is now trying to reduce its price to around $1000. But its still expensive compared with ordinary cameras. Thats why you only find it in BMW 7 series, rather than Nissan Sentra. Of course, thermal imaging cameras are still much cheaper than lidar. In addition, I Aage Nima points out that the resolution of the thermal imaging camera is not as good as the traditional camera, and its infrared ray can not penetrate the glass, that is, if the object has a glass barrier, no thermal imaging camera can find it. But then the traditional camera can come in handy. (Han Bing) source: NetEase science and technology report editor: Wang Fengzhi _NT2541 Of course, the thermal imaging camera is not perfect. First of all, they are too expensive. For example, the price of SeekThermals camera is around $2500, and the company is now trying to reduce its price to around $1000. But its still expensive compared with ordinary cameras. Thats why you only find it in BMW 7 series, rather than Nissan Sentra. Of course, thermal imaging cameras are still much cheaper than lidar.