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The role of heat seeking sensors in making autonomous driving safer | An interview with Seek Thermal

We recently spoke to Tim LeBeau, Chief Commercial Officer at Seek Thermal, ahead of his presentation at IS Auto Asia 2019, to get his insights into the role of heat seeking sensors in autonomous driving, why this research is important, the main challenges facing the industry and more.

1. Your presentation is on the role of heat seeking sensors in making autonomous driving safer, what can we expect to learn from your talk?

Attendees can expect a thorough discussion about vehicle sensors—where they do a good job and where they need some help. They'll learn where thermal imaging in combination with other sensors really moves the edge cases out to the point where ADAs and automotive vehicles become very safe.

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

Thermal imaging is not really research as much as it is development. With automotive transportation, you have a lot of things around you, and thermal does a good job at finding things and identifying anomalies that are dynamic. They have a potential of distinguishing humans or animals in a way that other tech can't. Thermal cameras show identify dynamic objects in the scene and other sensors need to pay attention to that and be able to act accordingly. It’s especially important now because never before has this tech been engineered in a way that is making it affordable to put not just one sensor but multiple sensors in the autonomous vehicle. 

3. What are the main challenges that the industry is facing and how do you think that this conference can address them?

One challenge in the industry is cost and the other challenge is how to fuse the sensor suite imagery together. Not only are we tasked with making sure we have the right CPU, but we're also tackling how to make sure these visions are applicable to both day and night.

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

I'm interested in learning about trends in the industry and connecting with other companies in the space. Seek Thermal is not a company that's only interested in promoting our tech. We're a company that wants to work in unison with other organizations to achieve the ultimate goal of creating safer situations for the general population.

Tim will be presenting as part of the Improving Road Safety through Sensor Innovation session on the first day of the conference. Other speakers in the session include Sony, Eyeris and SCHOTT Glass Technology.