News > Can automatic door infrared sensors distinguish between pedestrians and objects?

Can automatic door infrared sensors distinguish between pedestrians and objects?

Edor | 2023/09/20

Automatic door infrared sensors are a ubiquitous feature in modern buildings, providing convenience and accessibility by enabling doors to open automatically when someone approaches. However, a common question arises: Can these sensors distinguish between pedestrians and objects? In this article, we will delve into the capabilities of automatic door infrared sensors and their ability to differentiate between human pedestrians and inanimate objects.

Can automatic door infrared sensors distinguish between pedestrians and objects?

How Automatic Door Infrared Sensors Function

Before exploring their abilities, it's essential to understand how automatic door infrared sensors operate. These sensors work based on the emission and reception of infrared (IR) beams. Here's a simplified overview:

An emitter unit sends out a grid of invisible infrared beams across the doorway's detection zone.

A receiver unit, typically placed opposite the emitter, picks up the reflected infrared beams.

When an object or person enters the detection zone, they obstruct one or more of the infrared beams.

The sensor detects this obstruction and triggers the door to open.

Detection Capability

Automatic door infrared sensors are primarily designed to detect any obstruction within their detection zone, regardless of whether it's a human or an inanimate object. They excel in their core function: responding to the presence of any obstruction to ensure safe and convenient access through the door.

Challenges in Distinguishing Pedestrians from Objects

While these sensors are adept at detecting obstructions, differentiating between pedestrians and objects is more complex. In most cases, automatic door infrared sensors do not inherently possess the ability to recognize the nature of the obstruction. They respond to any blockage in the infrared beams, be it a person, a cart, a bag, or any other object.

Advanced Sensor Technologies

Advancements in sensor technology have introduced features that enhance the ability to distinguish between pedestrians and objects:

1. Dual Technology Sensors: Some modern sensors combine infrared technology with other sensing methods, such as microwave or ultrasonic sensors. These dual technology sensors can provide more accurate detection by analyzing the movement patterns of an object. They may incorporate algorithms that recognize typical human movement, improving object differentiation.

2. Advanced Algorithms: Certain automatic door systems incorporate advanced algorithms that analyze the size, shape, and movement of objects within the detection zone. While not infallible, these algorithms can enhance the sensor's ability to distinguish between humans and smaller objects.

Considerations for Specific Environments

In environments where precise differentiation is critical, such as healthcare facilities or areas with high pedestrian and object traffic, using additional sensors, such as pressure mats or video-based systems, can complement the capabilities of infrared sensors.


Automatic door infrared sensors play a vital role in providing accessible and convenient entrances. While their primary function is to detect obstructions, they typically do not inherently distinguish between pedestrians and objects. Advancements in sensor technology, such as dual technology sensors and advanced algorithms, are improving the ability to differentiate between the two. However, in environments with specific requirements, a combination of sensors may be necessary to achieve precise detection and enhance the overall functionality of automatic doors.



[email protected]

+86 136 1606 8720