The technology isn’t new, exactly, but it is not common either. Within a few years, however, systems using thermal imaging cameras could become as widespread as backup cameras are today. The system allows drivers to detect, via an infrared camera, heat radiated by people or animals some distance away from the vehicle.
For the moment, this technology has been implanted in a few luxury models. As well, manufacturers use it in their drive assist systems and autonomous-driving pilot projects.
Starting next year, Volkswagen’s new Touareg will incorporate a system using the technology. You’ll remember that the model is destined to the European market only, and it unlikely to make it across the Atlantic. But no matter, the technology is what interests us, as it is a near-certainty that it will find its way into other vehicles before too long.
The thermal imaging camera allows for identifying pedestrians, cyclists and larger animals at distances between 10 and 130 metres (32 and 426 feet) away when driving at night. Those distances are farther than what is visible to the eye with a vehicle’s headlights.