Six of Europe’s leading companies and research establishments have joined forces to develop a prototype low-cost IR night-vision system that can accurately resolve pedestrians and animals on the road. The project is called ICU, which stands for Infrared Imaging Components for Use in Automotive Safety Applications.
The plan is for the prototype IR imaging system to provide high-contrast images of warm living objects that are completely independent of ambient light conditions. The project partners believe that if such a system were to be used in cars, it would reduce both the number of accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists and animals as well as the death toll and the number of people who are seriously injured.
The development will focus on the two main cost drivers: the infrared bolometer sensor array and the infrared lens system The industrial partners in ICU are market leaders in automotive safety systems (Autoliv, Sweden), in automotive component manufacturing (Infineon Technologies SensoNor AS, Norway), and in high-volume infrared optics (Umicore, Belgium).
The universities and research institutes that will participate in the project (Acreo AB, Sweden; KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden; and Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium) all have a strong track record in research and development of photonic components and technologies. See below for more details on all partners.
The ICU project is supported by the European Community in the framework of the FP7 Information and Communication Technologies Programme. The project kicked off in Brussels in May and will run for two and a half years until October 2010.