Melexis Introduces Industry's First Single-Chip Automotive-Grade VGA Time-of-Flight (ToF) Image Sensor

Provides easy-to-use, advanced ToF technology to first- and second-tier manufacturers with leading, fully integrated solutions.

March 6, 2019, Tysondro, Belgium - Melexis, a global microelectronics engineering company, today announced the industry's first single-chip automotive-grade VGA time-of-flight (ToF) image sensor for automotive interior and exterior surveillance applications - MLX75027 . The MLX75027 is a system-on-a-chip solution that provides VGA (640 x 480 pixels) resolution image sensing and processing in a single BGA package.

With the development of the automotive industry towards semi-automatic driving, the advancement of ADAS technology has brought many benefits. At this stage, the in-vehicle monitoring system is used as a user interaction interface and safety device to monitor the status of drivers and other passengers. As the industry's first single-chip VGA ToF sensor, the introduction of the MLX75027 strengthens Melexis' leadership in this application.

The MLX75027 uses a modulated light source and optical time-of-flight sensing to create a three-dimensional image of the cabin that provides visibility into the interior of the vehicle and features gesture detection. The sensor can also be integrated into collision warning and navigation applications, such as detecting outside spaces and obstacles as well as pedestrians. The MLX75027 has an operating temperature range of -40 to +105 °C.

“This is our new product for automotive applications with ToF technology and is the most important product in our range,” said Gualtiero Bagnuoli, marketing manager for optical sensors at Melexis. “It not only strengthens Melexis' leadership in this field. It also provides reliable single-chip solutions for Tier 1 and Tier 2 manufacturers to help transform the automotive industry."

One of the key features of the MLX75027 is to support modulation frequencies up to 100MHz, enabling manufacturers to take full advantage of VCSEL performance for higher range accuracy. In addition, the sensor supports frame rates up to 135 FPS and can detect and track fast moving objects. With a low power consumption of only 230 mW at 30 FPS and a power supply solution of only three voltages (2.7V, 1.8V, and 1.2V), the MLX75027 simplifies system design and helps reduce power supply unit costs.

The MLX75027 uses Sony Semiconductor Solutions' backlighting technology (BSI) and includes advanced features such as programmable region of interest, continuous or triggered mode of operation, and image horizontal/vertical flip mode. The system-level interfaces included include CSI-2 serial data output, MIPI D-PHY, and I2C.

The MLX75027 ToF sensor can be evaluated using the EVK75027 kit. The kit is a complete ToF camera that can be connected directly to a PC to display and record depth image data, while also providing direct access to multiple configurations of the MLX75027.

The kit consists of four vertically stacked PCB boards, top to bottom: lighting panel, ToF sensor board, interface board, and processor board. It is also possible to separate the above PCBs, connect the sensors to other processor boards, or use other lighting units. The Windows-based graphical user interface visualizes deep images in real time, as well as basic data logging, analysis, and configuration. We also offer the MATLAB SDK and C API for easy software development. The evaluation kit is extremely flexible, allowing designers to quickly make the necessary system customization developments for specific applications.

Evaluation Kit The EVK75027-110-940-1 provides 940 nm VCSEL illumination and a 110 degree field of view with an integrated optical bandpass filter. Evaluation kits are available from Melexis distributors. Samples of the MLX75027 project will be available starting July 2019.

Editor's Note: The MLX75023, introduced in 2014, is the world's first in-vehicle time-of-flight sensor that meets the automotive industry standards and can be installed in a car when it is manufactured. Following Sony's acquisition of SoftKinetic, Melexis signed a patent license agreement with Sony in 2015, allowing it to apply Sony's DepthSense ToF technology to its products. In 2017, Melexis introduced a complete QVGA chipset and evaluation kit to advance the process of technology development and adoption. In November 2018, the second generation of products officially unveiled and the performance doubled. The MLX75027 reinforces Melexis' expertise and leadership in this application area.