Unmanned applications, from autonomous vehicles to drones and industrial automation, have seen a major evolution driven by advancements in embedded vision technology. At the core is the ability of unmanned systems to sense and navigate within their environments in a way that mimics human vision but with greater speed, accuracy, and endurance.
The integration of high-resolution cameras, coupled with powerful image processing algorithms, allows unmanned systems to make intelligent decisions based on visual inputs. For instance, in autonomous vehicles, embedded vision systems provide critical information about road conditions, traffic signals, pedestrians, and other vehicles. In industrial automation, these systems allow robots to perform complex tasks like assembly, quality inspection, and material handling with high precision and minimal human intervention.
Key benefits of embedded vision technology in unmanned applications:
- Situational awareness: Provides real-time data for better decision-making and environment interaction
- More safety: Offers precise detection and avoidance of obstacles, ensuring safer operations
- Scalability: Easily integrates into various unmanned systems, allowing for flexible and scalable solutions
STURDeCAM31: A Best-Fit Solution for Unmanned Applications
e-con Systems, a leader in embedded vision technology with 20+ years of experience, recently launched the STURDeCAM31. This compact GMSL2 IP69K HDR camera is designed with a focus on providing high-quality visual data, which is crucial for the complex demands of unmanned technology.
The STURDeCAM31 is powered by a 1/2.42″ Sony® ISX031 sensor, which brings automotive-grade reliability. Its 3MP CMOS sensor, coupled with a finely calibrated Image Signal Processor (ISP), ensures crisp and clear image capture. The camera’s 120dB High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a key feature, allowing it to deliver consistent image quality across varied lighting conditions. It can be extremely useful for unmanned systems where changes in environmental lighting can be abrupt and extreme.
Checkout the STURDeCAM31 introduction video:
One of STURDeCAM31‘s key highlights is LED Flicker Mitigation for reducing distractions from artificial lighting. Let’s look at some of this camera’s features that are perfect for unmanned applications.
Features of STURDeCAM31 that Power Unmanned Applications
HDR and Split-Pixel Technology
The STURDeCAM31 uses the advanced Sony® ISX031 sensor, featuring a unique split-pixel technology, where each pixel is divided into two sub-pixels or split pixels. The larger sub-pixel is used for darker parts of an image, and the smaller sub-pixel for the mid-to-high light parts of image captures to extend the dynamic range. The larger sub-pixel collects more light and, therefore, saturates in brighter conditions. The use of two pixel sizes in image capturing extends the dynamic range, ensuring no blackout in dark areas and no blowout in bright areas, even in high-contrast scenes. Both are processed and merged with algorithms, resulting in a final HDR image. Also, split-pixel technology eliminates motion blur, ensuring that moving objects appear sharper and more well-defined.
Explore the ‘everything you need to know about split-pixel HDR technology’ blog for an in-depth look at the two HDR modes, an understanding of how split-pixel HDR works, and insights into why this technology is gaining popularity in unmanned applications.
HDR Comparison: Other HDR camera vs STURDeCAM31
Rugged design with IP69K rating
The robustness of the STURDeCAM31 is evident in its IP69K rating, which showcases the camera’s resilience in rugged conditions. This level of durability helps unmanned applications, which often operate in challenging and unpredictable environments.
Visit the blog ‘how IP69K rating impacts camera performance in autonomous mobility systems’ to understand the capabilities necessary for the IP69K rating and its advantages for cameras in autonomous mobility.
IP69K Water & Dust proof demo:
GMSL2 interface with Advanced GMSL health monitoring
STURDeCAM31’s GMSL2 interface includes a standard 3m coaxial cable and a FAKRA connector. An optional 15-meter cable further enhances its versatility. The camera is also compatible with a range of interfaces like USB, MIPI, and FPD LINK III, offering varied options for data transmission and system integration. STURDeCAM31 implements robust Health Monitoring and Error Recovery capabilities that ensures robust camera streaming by comprehensively monitoring the sensor, Microcontroller Unit (MCU), and GMSL link. This mitigates data transmission errors and ensures proper control signal and data processing.
STURDeCAM31’s automated diagnostics run real-time checks for data integrity, signal strength, and link stability. The fail-safe mechanism is crucial in unmanned technology, as it ensures the continuous quality of streaming data, reduces system latency, and simplifies immediate fault detection and management.
Versatile lens options
The STURDeCAM31 offers two distinct lens types: a 70-degree DFOV narrow-angle lens for focused vision and a 170-degree DFOV wide-angle lens for a broader field of view. This choice allows for customization based on specific application needs. Both lenses comply with the IP69K rating standards, ensuring their performance remains unaffected under various environmental conditions. So, unmanned systems can perform well with the camera functioning reliably, regardless of external factors like weather, terrain, or lighting.
Synchronized multi-camera setup
STURDeCAM31 can support a synchronized eight-camera configuration with NVIDIA® Jetson AGX Orin. The multi-camera setup enables simultaneous data capture and transmission from all cameras, offering a comprehensive 360-degree field of vision. This wide-ranging perspective provides diverse viewpoints and enhances the spatial perception of unmanned applications. The result? It ensures coherent image stitching and accurate spatial awareness.
The compact form factor of the STURDeCAM31 and reduced physical footprint help minimize the space required for system integration. Hence, it can be easily used on applications like small-sized delivery robots.
e-con Systems’ STURDeCAM31’ combination of high-quality imaging, robust design, versatile connectivity, and compact size makes it an outstanding choice for unmanned systems. This camera solution meets the current demands of unmanned technology while showing the way for future developments in this constantly evolving field.