Imaging technology advancement has been driving the adoption of cameras on automobiles and iCatch Technology (iCatch) is at the forefront of imaging-based Advance Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) solutions. Among all ADAS, electronic mirror is one of the fastest-growing technology that is being widely adopted in both pre-market and aftermarket for both passenger and commercial vehicles. Electronic mirror is replacing traditional rearview and side view mirrors by using cameras and displays in conjunction. The video streams captured by the camera modules installed around the vehicle are fed into multiple displays for the driver to monitor the traffic conditions. The main advantages of electronic mirror over traditional mirror are wider field of view, blind spot reduction, better low light visibility and drag reduction. Electronic mirror is starting to be offered as optional equipment by some car makers on certain car models and is expected to become a standard equipment on newly designed electric vehicles in the near future. Based on this market trend, iCatch has been investing R&D resources in electronic mirror application in the last 5 years and has readied reliable total solutions for customers to ensure driving safety and fast time-to-market.
iCatch’s AI Imaging SoC has already been adopted by leading dash camera brand names in Japan and Taiwan to offer Dash Cam + Electronic Mirror 2-in-1 combo solutions which entered mass production starting in 2021. These combo solutions not only replace traditional rearview mirror with electronic mirror, but also integrate video recording capability to record videos in front and behind the vehicles simultaneously. This system architecture is expected to further penetrate the dash camera market due to the enhanced visibility and convenience it offers. iCatch has also been cooperating with car makers in China to design multi-camera side view electronic mirror solution for commercial vehicles. The system incorporates two cameras with different field of view for each side to remove blind spot and cover both close and far distance visibility. The product is currently under real-world testing and is expected to enter mass production after the testing is complete.
Visibility and Low Latency are two most important factors that need to be considered for electronic mirror application. iCatch AI Imaging SoC has been specially designed to address these two issues to further enhance user experience and driving safety. The proprietary image signal processor (ISP) inside the SoC can support 120dB High Dynamic Range (HDR) and LED Flicker Mitigation (LFM) to overcome the harsh lighting under high contrast environment and minimize the LED Flicker caused by the LED headlight of the vehicle behind. iCatch has also optimized the image processing pipeline inside the SoC to greatly reduce the video latency from camera to display. iCatch’s SoC has been enabling electronic mirror systems with video latency of less than 50ms which is 50% less latency when compared to the general solutions currently on the market, in other words, glass-to glass latency will give us 1.4m safety distance response time in 100km/hr speed. Furthermore, with the built-in deep learning accelerator inside the SoC, iCatch has also been developing in-house AI blind spot detection (BSD) algorithm to detect objects, such as cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, and send out warning to the driver when there is potential hazard. This extra safety feature is expected to be deployed to the market starting in 2023.
As vehicle equipment start to migrate from mechanical to electronic solutions, system reliability is being considered as the top priority by the car manufactures. As electronic mirror slowly penetrates from aftermarket to pre-market, SoC reliability is being addressed and emphasized by the automotive industry since any system malfunction will put passengers’ safety at risk. Therefore, iCatch Technology will continue to invest in R&D resources to enhance the SoC design in order to provide SoC with better reliability and system redundancy to meet the requirements of ISO26262 international functional safety standard.