LG Innotek has announced a ‘high-performance heating camera module’ for autonomous driving that uses ultra-precision optical design technology. Using this module, the LG Electronics subsidiary plans to develop a full-fledged drive for the autonomous driving camera module market. An official from the company confirmed that it is planning to begin mass production of the new camera module in 2027.

The heating camera has a heater mounted on an existing advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) camera. If frost or snow accumulates on the vehicle camera lens during cold weather, obstacles around the vehicle cannot be detected, which could lead to a serious accident. LG Innotek has said that, for this reason, a heating camera must be used to collect clear images in adverse weather conditions.

The high-performance heating camera module developed by the company directly heats the bottom of the lens, consuming less power (maximum 4W) while quickly removing snow and frost. Testing the product in a cryogenic environment of -18°C (-0.4°F), LG Innotek found that the resolution of the frozen lens was restored to the same level as room temperature in four minutes when its heating camera module was used. Comparatively, it said that similar products took an average of eight minutes to remove frost from the lens in the same environment.

The module’s heating capabilities are enabled by the use of highly efficient PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) material. When the temperature rises above a certain level, the PTC material automatically reduces the amount of current to maintain an appropriate temperature. The temperature control performance of this material allowed LG Innotek to install a heater at the bottom of the lens, an optimal location for quickly removing snow and frost.

LG Innotek took a unique approach to the design of the module by combining the lens and heater into a singular module. Here, its compact form factor was achieved by inserting a PTC heater into the empty space in the camera module, allowing the camera and heater input to become integrated as one. As a result, even when the heater is installed, the size of LG Innotek’s camera module is similar to other solutions. Accordingly, customers can apply this product directly to the location where the existing camera module is mounted without any additional design changes.