On the surface it certainly seems like solid-state lidar has many advantages over electromechanical systems and that VCSEL is the leading ship design.
From an article in All About Circuits.
ams, a leading worldwide supplier of high-performance sensor solutions, announced that it has joined forces with Ibeo Automotive Systems, a supplier of automotive LiDAR sensor technology, and ZF Friedrichshafen, a provider of automotive systems, to advance solid-state LiDAR technology for use in autonomous driving and other applications.
ams will be providing VCSEL arrays as the light source through which these LiDAR systems function.
LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a sensing technology akin to RADAR. But, while radar detects objects by the reflection of radio waves off their surface, LiDAR illuminates them with a laser beam and detects the bounce-back of the laser signal.
Laser wavelengths are much shorter than radar wavelengths. Because of this, the exact position of the detected object, such as a pedestrian or another moving vehicle, can be measured far more accurately.
It is expected that LiDAR systems will be used in conjunction with existing solutions such as RADAR and cameras. The ultimate goal is to achieve the “Holy Grail” of the self-driving car industry—SAE level 5, or fully autonomous driving.
Solid-state LiDAR is a form of LiDAR that does not require moving parts. Built entirely on a silicon chip, a solid-state LiDAR system is smaller and more resilient to vibrations—and oftentimes less expensive than an electromechanically-intensive traditional LiDAR system. Where a typical automotive LiDAR system was mounted to a vehicle and physically moved to change its direction, solid-state LiDAR is capable of adjusting its directional focus by changing the patterns of its optical emissions. This is obviously attractive to the designer of an autonomous vehicle as it eliminates the need for a swiveling LiDAR sensor mounted to a vehicle (or a multitude of LiDAR sensors locked in place to cover blind spots).
Additionally, the enhanced immunity to vibrations is obviously interesting for rugged environments such as those found in automotive applications.
As Dr. Ulrich Lages, CEO of Ibeo Automotive Systems, puts it: “LiDAR is already a key technology in the automotive sector, and to date our leading products are used with automotive companies in Europe and worldwide. The combination of our solution know-how with ams’ VCSEL technology will create a tipping point for solid-state LiDAR in the automotive sector.”
So what does this ams technology offer?
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