Autonomous vehicles Laser Scanning Lidar safety Technology

Optical Phased Array – Is it the Best Lidar?

image of Optical Phased Array Lidar from Quanergy
Optical Phased Array Lidar from Quanergy

LiDAR has been hailed as the most significant auto safety technology since the seat belt and should be commonplace in new car models in the next few years. To learn more about the whys and wherefores of optical phased array LiDAR, we caught up with Tianyue Yu, Chief Development Officer & Co-Founder, and Enzo Signore, CMO of Quanergy.

From an article in Just Auto by Matthew Beecham.

Could you tell us a little about Quanergy, the shape it is in today and its aims for the next 12 months?

Enzo: Quanergy has about 100 people, mostly in engineering, dedicated to developing very innovative LiDAR solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and the automotive market. As far as our capital structure, we have recently announced our intentions of going public through a SPAC business combination with CITIC Capital.

LiDAR is said to be the most important of the sensor suite that enables the different levels of driver autonomy. Yet one of the challenges for manufacturers with this type of sensor, in particular, is to find reliability and robustness along with economic viability. How does your solution address this?

Tianyue: Our optical phased array based LiDAR is true solid-state without any moving parts enabling very high reliability. The technology is also based on a mature CMOS semiconductor process with custom-designed emitter and detector chips. At volume, this technology platform would follow a semiconductor cost trajectory and accelerate the market penetration. What this solid-state LIDAR innovation brings, given its high reliability and low cost, is ultimately in the long term at high volume, the most efficient way to support the photons to insights vision. So, it is our fundamental belief that OPA based solid-state LiDAR is the linchpin to LiDAR democratisation.

We understand that solid-state LiDAR is cheaper than rotating mechanics. Could you give us an idea of how much your solid-state LiDAR units cost (a range) in mass production and how you can democratise LiDAR?

TY: Quanergy’s S3 Series LiDAR sensor is designed to meet the most stringent automotive requirements for object detection and collision avoidance. The sensor’s unique electronic beam steering without any moving parts offers immunity to shock and vibration. The S3 Series provides over 100,000 hours MTBF (mean time between failures), and it is targeting a price of $500 for mass-market production.

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