HELIAUS EU H2020 project - tHErmaL vIsion Augmented awaranesS : an extended perception for enabling safe autonomous driving

The HELIAUS project will propose several IR optical systems using silicon or chalcogenide lenses made by mechanical alloying and fast moulding process, specifically designed for 8.5µm pixel pitch.
HELIAUS EU H2020 project - tHErmaL vIsion Augmented awaranesS : an extended perception for enabling safe autonomous driving

The HELIAUS project (started 05/2019) aims to deliver breakthrough perception systems for in-cabin passengers monitoring, as well as for the car surrounding by developing smart thermal perception systems that extend the current systems to the LWIR bandwidth. This project of 61 M€ total budget (with 14,5 M€ UE + States fundings) is based on a consortium of 11 partners as listed below:

  • LYNRED France
  • DENSO ADAS Germany
  • FotoNation Ireland
  • CEA France
  • UMICORE IR Glass France
  • NUIG Ireland
  • ONERA France
  • UMR UR1-CNRS, ISCR France
  • Next2U Italy
  • FHG IPT Germany
  • AnotherBrain France

The project

With the emergence of new forms of personal mobility, the automotive industry is facing a drastic change. Photonic technology – one of the six Key Enabling Technology (KET) recognized by the European Commission – plays a crucial role in meeting automotive needs and expectations. With all sensors combined, limitations are still expected and will limit availability of assistance or autonomous vehicle.

Taking benefit of Long Wave Infra-Red bandwidth (LWIR) in which all object radiates energy depending only on its structure and temperature, the HELIAUS project aims to deliver breakthrough perception systems.  HELIAUS will develop smart thermal perception systems that will detect Long Wave Infra-Red light both for in-cabin passengers monitoring and for the car surrounding.  HELIAUS will improve object classification of the automotive sensor suite in all light conditions, provide redundancy and thus extend vehicle autonomy towards level 3 and beyond, operating 24/7.

Role of Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences

 In recent years, moulding has become the prevailing optical manufacturing method for thermal imaging optics, and very strongly so in the commercial market segments.

Optical design and manufacturing technologies can offer strong support to the development of novel applications, and to bring these applications to global consumer markets. Optical design and process development will work closely to enable cost effective high volume manufacturing while maximizing systems performance. Novel design layouts, innovative materials and optical manufacturing technologies, and cost effective systems integration methods will be explored in the project.

Chalcogenide glasses must be produced in ingots, made in a sealed and lost silica ampoule, then these ingots must be cut and polished before being moulded, generating significant costs and loss of material. In addition, this discontinuous production process can only manufacture chalcogenide glasses which are very stable with respect to crystallization. This limits the possibility of glass chemical composition with low resistance to mechanical and thermal shock, which penalizes them for outdoor applications such as embedded thermal cameras for example.

In the framework of the project, the flash moulding manufacturing technique invented by L. Calvez will be  developed by the Université de Rennes –CNRS on innovative glass formulation.

This cost-saving technique pave the way for the production of high refractive index infrared glasses and glass-ceramics on a continuous basis and at a low cost for industrial production


Laurent Calvez - laurent [dot] calvezatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr
Univ Rennes, CNRS, ISCR-6226, F-35000 Rennes, France

ZHANG Xiang-Hua - xzhangatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr
Univ Rennes, CNRS, ISCR-6226, F-35000 Rennes, France

HELIAUS EU project website & video presentation



Funding authorities

This project has received funding from the ECSEL Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 826131 (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/826131/fr). The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and France, Germany, Ireland, Italy.

Helius funding

                 LWIR- Thermal vision principle based on MEMS microbolometer technology