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A small stereo vision sensor to help improve compact vehicle safety has been developed by Denso Corporation, which in 2012 developed a laser radar sensor used in Daihatsu’s Smart Assist System.

According to, the Denso development is currently the world’s smallest automotive stereo vision sensor and is used in Smart Assist III, a crash avoidance system designed for the new Daihatsu Tanto vehicle, which was released in November 2016.

While vision sensors use a camera to detect white lines and obstacles on the road ahead, the new sensor uses a pair of cameras placed side by side, which enables the distance to a target object to be measured more accurately and enhances the activation of autonomous emergency braking systems to avoid a collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian, lane departure warning systems, and auto high beam systems that automatically switch the headlights from high beam to low beam for better night vision.

The need for small vision sensors arose due to the small space given in small vehicles to install any sort of device. Generally, in stereo cameras, the longer the distance between the two camera lenses (baseline), the longer the measurable distance to the target, meaning that the camera body needs to be larger to extend the maximum measurable distance. A combination of highly accurate lens distortion correction and stereo matching technologies enables the new sensor to ensure that the maximum measurable distance is long enough while the baseline length is halved.

The above mentioned innovations enable the new sensor to be mounted behind the windshield rearview mirror so the driver’s forward vision is not hindered. The sensor is located within the range of the windshield wipers, where contamination on the windshield is easily removed by their blades so that the sensor can perform properly without being affected by rain on the windshield.