In-cabin sensing

Discover ams OSRAM’s broad portfolio for in-cabin sensing from industry-leading infrared (IR) illumination solutions based on LED and VCSEL technologies to capacitive sensors that detect hands on the steering wheel for automated driving. With our in-cabin expertise, we support our customers enabling a safer and autonomous future of mobility.


Infrared LED and VCSEL Illuminators for In-Cabin Sensing


Driver monitoring, interior monitoring and gesture sensing

Driver monitoring systems (DMS)

Driver monitoring systems (DMS) are rapidly emerging to ensure road safety and enhance driver experience. Two mobility megatrends, safety and autonomous driving, are supported by regulatory bodies like the European Union and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which require car manufacturers to adopt driver monitoring systems. From 2023, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) will also require direct DMS for a 5-star safety rating.
Beside the safety enhancing aspects, DMS can support comfort-related features like driver identification and authentication or adjust augmented-reality heads-up displays for a better driving experience. Also detecting if the driver’s hands are on the steering wheel gets more and more important with >L2+ automated driving functions coming into volume.

The new OSLON Black IR LEDs with rectangular beam provide an application-specific enhancement which delivers increased value and performance for automotive manufacturers.

Interior/occupant monitoring systems (IMS/OMS)

With new upcoming occupant-related safety standards and increasing vehicle autonomy, interior monitoring systems are also valued for gathering a sophisticated scene understanding of the vehicle's interior. In particular, occupant monitoring and child presence detection features are included in the NCAP roadmap: these are used for seat-belt reminder, adaptive airbag deployment, or reminding parents of children who are left-behind in parked cars. These safety-related features are accompanied with comfort functions like gesture sensing or video calls, which has created demand for wide field-of-view cameras positioned on the car’s middle axis. In some cases, these systems also have driver-monitoring features, providing a multifunctional camera-based sensor and opening a route to complex artificial intelligence possibilities inside the car cabin.

Gesture Sensing

Gesture Sensing can be separated into two categories. In complex gesture sensing systems the exact hand pose and even positions of single fingers are detected. So called simple gesture sensing systems allow the detection of a hand approaching a smart surface or display, or simple hand movement like upside down or left to right movements.


System architectures

Various system architectures can be used to realize in-cabin sensing systems: from 2D NIR imaging-based NCAP- and regulation-compliant systems up to more advanced 3D-capable designs like active stereo vision (ASV), structured light (SL), and indirect time of flight (iToF).
The most common in-cabin sensing systems are realized with 2D NIR imaging cameras and use flood illumination based on IRED or VCSEL technologies, depending on the system preferences of the end customer. Flood illumination means projecting a curtain of infrared light onto the scene for 2D image extraction, compared to pattern illumination that projects certain patterns onto the scene for 3D-depth extraction (e.g. dots, lines etc.).
The emerging 3D-sensing systems also use flood illumination, however with different constraints. Whereas ASV has similar IR illumination needs as 2D imaging, SL-based systems require an additional pattern projector for depth extraction, which is best realized using VCSEL-based illuminators. The iToF systems on the other hand – which are by far the most common 3D-sensing architecture used in cars today – benefit greatly from VCSEL illumination, thanks to the fast rise-and-fall times of the VCSEL signal, which in turn enables higher modulation frequencies and better depth resolution for iToF systems.
Most in-cabin sensing systems today operate at 940 nm wavelength while some also use 850 nm. The choice of illumination technology, light path design, and wavelength, requires careful consideration and this is where ams OSRAM provides design support in close partnership with customers, thanks to extensive expertise in system design with both technologies and wavelengths.

ams OSRAM offering

ams OSRAM offers an extensive range of illumination and sensing solutions, like the Oslon Black and Synios families of IR LEDs, which leads the market in IR Illumination, or TARA2000-AUT, the first AECQ-102 qualified VCSEL module in the market, in mass production for many customers since Q2-2021. The ams OSRAM AS8579 capacitive sensor uses a novel technique for foolproof, hands-on detection design. It enables sensing placement within the steering-wheel industry’s first completely reliable solution for hands-on detection and offers the simplest way for car makers to comply with the UN Regulation 79. Photodiods and LEDs can be used for simple gesture detection.

System architectures