STMicroelectronics recently announced its latest global-shutter image sensor for driver monitoring systems (DMS) to enhance vehicle safety.

The new global-shutter sensor, VB56G4A, leverages ST’s in-house investment in manufacturing advanced 3D-stacked back-side illuminated (BSI-3D) image sensors. These are more sensitive, smaller, and more reliable than conventional front-side illuminated (FSI) sensors typically used in first-generation DMSs.

DMSs continually watch the driver’s head movements to recognize signs of drowsiness and distraction, enabling systems in the vehicle to generate warnings that can preserve the safety of occupants. Traffic agencies estimate that about 95% of road-traffic accidents result from human error, many of which could be avoided using systems such as DMSs. With almost 19,000 accident fatalities in Europe in 20201, recently enacted legislation will mandate DMS for all new car platforms in Europe in 2024 and for existing model platforms in 2026. With traffic fatalities twice as high in the US2, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended DMS for all semi-autonomous vehicles.

“Drivers may not realize that they are unsafe to drive due to tiredness or distraction. DMS removes uncertainty by detecting the problem automatically, which protects all occupants as well as others traveling on the road,” said Eric Aussedat, Executive Vice President, Imaging Sub-Group General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “Our latest global-shutter sensors deliver sensitivity and compactness, simplifying DMS hardware and reducing the overall system cost. This enables our customers and partners to deliver high-performing and reliable DMS systems reaching the legislation expectations.”

ST is supplying samples of its new sensor to lead customers now and mass production is scheduled for the beginning of 2023 for adoption in model year 2024 vehicles. For more information, please visit VB56G4A.