Suzuki Motor Corp employed a sensor unit integrating a monocular camera and an infrared laser device as a sensor of the automatic braking system of the new "Wagon R."

The company was promoting the use of stereo cameras in 2015 and 2016 but changed its mind, probably putting priority on cost and size reduction.

Suzuki's new "Wagon R"

The sensor unit combining a monocular camera and an infrared laser device

Suzuki employed a stereo camera for the partially-remodeled "Spacia" light car, which was released in May 2015, as a starter, and, since then, had been using it as a sensor for the automatic braking systems of the "Solio" compact car, "Hustler" light car, etc.

While stereo cameras can recognize pedestrians and vehicles with a high accuracy, they are disadvantageous in terms of parts cost. In fact, the price of the Spacia's automatic braking system is ¥75,600 (approx US$670). Suzuki described it as a strategic price that can cause a deficit. And the price is more than three times higher than that of an infrared radar-based system that the company used before it started to use the stereo camera.

While the stereo camera-based sensor realized a function to detect pedestrians, some consumers felt that it is too expensive for light cars with a price ranging from ¥1 million to 2 million.

Suzuki reduced the size of the sensor by shortening inter-camera distance, compared with the stereo camera-based sensor of the "Eyesight" driving support system of Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) Ltd, which has a lead in terms of stereo cameras. But the sensor still had a presence in a car, the company said. This is also part of the reason why the company changed the sensor.

The interior of the Wagon R. The sensor unit is located in front of the rear-view mirror.

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