With this in mind, the young startup has unveiled its built a thermal camera for a demo vehicle. Their device passively collects thermal data from the world, which is then converted into a high-resolution video stream, before classifying whatever it sees as a person, animal, car, or other object.

Although other sensors work in a similar way under normal conditions, autonomous vehicles fitted with the thermal camera can immediately classify something with a specific heat signature as something that it’s probably alive. Thus, regardless of fog, dust and even direct sunlight, being able to see the difference in temperature gives an important advantage.

Additionally, Adasky’s senors are able to pinpoint frozen roads with slick hazards such as black ice.

Whether or not autonomous automakers are interested in adding thermal cameras to their vehicles is yet to be seen, but it seems apparent that in compromised conditions, thermal cameras might be essential for driver and pedestrian safety.