PathFindIR – Car Thermal Imaging

Developed by the U.S. Company FLIR Systems, PathFindIR is a compact thermal imaging camera for cars, designed to ensure safe driving even on the darkest nights or stormiest days. The device is based on the same technology used by the military. Car headlights illuminate a distance of between 250-450 feet ahead of the car. PathFindIR allows the driver to see four times further than that, so that he/she can spot pedestrians, animals and obstacles in time and respond accordingly. Unlike standard video cameras that create images based on visible light, this camera identifies differences in temperature, making even low-visibility driving safe.

Founded in 1978, FLIR specializes in designing and manufacturing thermal imaging and broadcast camera systems for a wide variety of purposes. The PathFindIR module has already been integrated into BMW models and may also be used in military vehicle designs, or adapted for aftermarket commercial vehicle applications.

The PathFindIR weighs only 360 grams and measures 5.8 x 5.7 x 7.2 cm, meaning it can be easily installed in compact locations inside a vehicle, behind the grill for example. It is equipped with a 19 mm wide angle lens, which provides a wide field of view (36°), helping the driver to detect potential dangers  early on.

The PathFindIR is a maintenance free system that can display video images on any screen that accepts composite video. It incorporates an uncooled 320 x 240 pixels microbolometer, which can detect subtle differences in temperature, displaying warm objects as white, and cold objects as black.

The PathFindIR is designed for use even in harsh environments, as its vital core is well protected against both humidity and water. It can operate in temperatures between -40°C and +80°C, and can be cleaned without special attention together with the vehicle, using a hose.

There is an option for routing the PathFindIR’s power and video interface into a passenger compartment using a six-meter-long cable. One side of the cable connects to the PathFindIR while the other end has 2 wires that can be terminated for hooking into the vehicle power bus and a video cable that is terminated with a BNC connector.

A video demonstrating the use of the PathFindIR can be found here.

TFOT has covered the “GPS locator” demonstrated at CeBIT 2007, a GPS module for cameras, and a wireless USB (WUSB) technology for cameras developed by the Artimi Company. More recently, TFOT covered the POV. 1 – a durable, waterproof, dustproof and shock resistant video camera that can be attached almost anywhere. In addition to quality DVD recording, the POV. 1 enables on-the-go editing and online sharing of videos.

More information on the PathFindIR can be found on FLIR’s website.