New camera with shrimp eyesight features helps driverless cars see better

A new camera that mimics the vision of the mantis shrimp helps driverless cars see better. The new camera improves dynamic range and adds polarization information. It improves the ability of driverless cars to identify hazards in situations where visibility is bad. In other words, the new device could help self-driving vehicles operate more safely…

Dynamic range is a measure of the darkest and brightest areas a camera can capture simultaneously. In challenging conditions, the new camera can see much better than other cameras. It can see better, for example, when a car moves from a dark tunnel into bright sunlight. Foggy or hazy conditions are also examples of situations where visibility is poor.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis describe the new camera in the journal Optica (citation below).