Koito Manufacturing has been granted a patent for a method of controlling lighting operation. The method involves actively illuminating a scene with pulsed light, gating pixel elements of an image sensor in coordination with the illumination, receiving reflections from the scene, generating reflection-based image data, and controlling the operation of platform lighting based on this data. The platform lighting consists of multiple light sources arranged in a matrix, allowing for different illumination power in different regions of the scene. GlobalData’s report on Koito Manufacturing gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Koito Manufacturing, AV lighting system was a key innovation area identified from patents. Koito Manufacturing's grant share as of September 2023 was 40%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Method for controlling lighting using pulsed light and reflection-based image data
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11772545B2) describes a method and apparatus for controlling the operation of lighting in a platform. The method involves actively illuminating a scene with pulsed light generated by one or more pulsed light sources. The illumination is coordinated with the gating of pixel elements of an image sensor to receive reflections from the scene. Reflection-based image data is generated based on these reflections, and the operation of platform lighting, consisting of multiple light sources arranged in a matrix, is controlled using this data.
The patent claims also mention that the controlling can be performed to illuminate different scene regions, which can be illuminated with broad-spectrum light. Additionally, multiple scene regions can be subjected to different illumination intensities, with at least two regions experiencing different intensities simultaneously. The different scene regions may have different reflectance properties, but the goal is to obtain an equal amount of light flux reflected from each region.
The reflection-based image data is generated by detecting reflections obtained from illuminating the scene with pulsed light. These reflections can be detected from a distance beyond the range of the platform lighting's illumination or beyond the visual acuity range of a normal human visual system.
The patent also describes an illumination control apparatus for controlling the lighting operation of a platform. This apparatus includes memories and processors that actively illuminate a scene with pulsed light, receive reflections on an image sensor, gate pixel elements to convert reflections into pixel values, generate reflection-based image data, and control the operation of platform lighting.
The apparatus can be used to determine driving conditions based on the reflection-based image data and adaptively control vehicle lighting accordingly. It can also provide information about the depth-of-field of the scene beyond the illumination range of the vehicle lighting. The controlling of vehicle lighting is designed to avoid blinding objects in the scene.
The platform lighting can include various light sources such as dim beam light sources, main beam light sources, spotlights, fog lamps, daytime conspicuity light sources, position lamps, brake lights, and reversing lamps.
Overall, this patent presents a method and apparatus for controlling lighting in a platform, allowing for the illumination of different scene regions with varying intensities and avoiding blinding of objects in the scene. The reflection-based image data obtained through pulsed light illumination provides valuable information for adaptive vehicle lighting control and extends the depth-of-field beyond the range of the lighting system.