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Exclusive interview with SCHOTT Glass Technologies

We spoke to Yigang Li, Manager - Optical Industry & Home Tech of SCHOTT Glass Technologies recently to discuss enhancing driver safety through camera image quality, why this research is important in the industry at the moment, future plans and more.

Your presentation is on enhancing driver safety through camera image quality, what can we expect to learn from your talk?

Driver safety and autonomous driving is very much connected to the perception of the scene. A driver or a driver assistance system must have a clear “picture” of the surroundings. Different types of cameras are used to observe the driving scene and the pictures are analysed by humans or computers. In both cases it is mandatory that the picture doesn’t contain any ghosts nor any artefacts, because especially computers are confused by such unknown objects. Therefore, we develop filters that pass only the relevant spectrum to the camera sensor. It is the key in filter design to have a high transmittance in the range of the visible spectrum in order to get a perfect color recognition and at the same time block unwanted radiation that could cause ghost images inside the lens system of the camera. “Ghost” are well known artefact that is caused by strong light sources such as the sun when viewed at sunset or dawn.

The ghosts have their origin in near-infrared reflections inside the lens system, and such a ghost would simulate an object in the picture that is not there.

Why is this research important in the industry at the moment?

In order to eliminate the ghosting in cameras at difficult lighting situations, we are permanently optimizing the recipes of our glasses: We try to increase the absorption of our filters, which eliminates the risk of ghosting. At the same time, a minimum amount of transmittance for the visible range must be maintained in order to receive enough color information of a scene. Color information is needed to recognize traffic signs, traffic lights, road marking, … etc.   

What are SCHOTT’s plans going forward?

Schott has developed special glasses that satisfy the optical requirements for difficult lighting situations. Those glasses are available with different amount of coloring agents. Currently, we are driving our developments toward filter glasses with much higher content of absorbing ions, which enables much thinner designs for future cameras.

What are you most looking forward to hearing about at IS Auto Asia 2019?

What are new developments for cameras for visible and NIR wavelength range.