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Micron rolls out second generation auto image sensor

Posted: 27 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:micron technology? image sensor? mt9v125? cmos image sensor?

Micron Technology Inc. has unveiled a new automotive image sensor that is designed specifically for scene viewing applications. This second generation MT9V125 CMOS image sensor incorporates several key enhancements and features including NTSC and PAL video outputs, extended operating temperature range and dual electronic rolling shutters that will help automotive manufacturers design in camera functionality in a variety of safety applications including a reversing camera so the driver can see what might be next to or behind the car.

The 1/4-inch optical format MT9V125 sensor also captures information about environmental conditions and sends information to the vehicle's data systems to provide input for potential actions, such as safer deployment of a vehicle's airbag. The new sensor provides a higher-level of integration, which will reduce camera cost and size, said the company. Like all of Micron's automotive sensors, it incorporates the company's proprietary low-noise, high-sensitivity DigitalClarity technology.

A key feature of the MT9V125 is dual electronic rolling shutters that is said to provide excellent video capture especially in low-light and bright-light conditions. It captures 30fps at 27MHz (60Hz field rate for NTSC video systems) or 25fps at 27MHz (50Hz field rate for PAL video systems) with a maximum integration time of 33 milliseconds (ms) for NTSC and 40ms for PAL. The two rolling shutters capture odd/even frames with no penalty on integration time, said Curtis Stith, director of marketing for the Emerging Markets segment of Micron's Imaging Group.

Outputting to either a NTSC or PAL format, the video output is formatted on-chip to go directly to a NTSC or PAL display device, and because it doesn't require an encoder chip, it also reduces component count and cost. The post processed video and overlay support enables the designer to feed the post processed information (lens correction and static or dynamic overlays) back into the imager to use the on-chip digital-to-analog converter (ADC) and NTSC encoder. It supports parallel or serial digital interlaced output formats and supports raw progressive or interlaced digital output.

The company said the flexible signal paths of the auto sensor enable a designer to choose one scene-view sensor across a range of vehicle models, such as a basic reversing camera in a low-end model, or for dynamic overlay of the video signal in high-end models.

The sensor also provides a dynamic range of >70 db for good image capture in bright light or very dark conditions, making the imager suitable for real-world applications such as entering/exiting a tunnel or parking garage. The sensor also comes with an extended operating temperature range of -40C to 105C for operation in harsh conditions. The new sensor meets the requirements of the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) Q-100.

Other features include programmable controls for exposure, windowing, frame rate, ADC reference, left/right and top/bottom image reversal, and automatic functions for exposure, white balance, black reference, flicker avoidance, color saturation and defect identification and correction.

Stith said Micron's CMOS image technology matches CCD performance for low light sensitivity as well as offers CMOS benefits of low power consumption, faster frame rates at full resolution and a reduction in component count, board layout and overall system cost.

While the best known application for automotive image sensors is rear view assist, there are several key emerging applications, Stith said, including lane tracking or lane departure warning, 360-degree view around the car (no blind spots), parking assistance and adaptive cruise control.

The MT9V125, housed in a 9-by-9mm 52-ball IBGA package, is priced at $12 in quantities of 10,000. Samples are available now with mass production expected in the first quarter of 2006.

- Gina Roos


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