Electronics and Semiconductors

Shutter flash lidar system detects targets 200 meters away

08 January 2021

Sense Photonics has achieved what it claims is the first to demonstrate 200 m detection using its global shutter flash lidar system.

Sense Photonics’ system includes a proprietary emitter, a backside illuminated complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) device with more than 140,000 pixels and a distributed 840 nm laser array of more than 15,000 vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). These technologies created a camera-like architecture for the first high-resolution, eye-safe, global shutter flash lidar that can detect 10% reflective targets at a 200 m range in full sunlight and outputting at tens of millions of points per second.

The Sense system leverages the company's proprietary emitter and SPAD sensor technologies. Sense Silicon, a backside illuminated CMOS SPAD device with more than 140,000 pixels, is designed to work seamlessly with the Sense Illuminator, a distributed 940 nm laser array of more than 15,000 VCSELs.

The company said this technology could be used in future autonomous systems such as robotaxis in future designs.

Sense Photonics said that unlike traditional lidar technologies, the flash architecture eliminates the need for fine alignment between the emitter and receiver, maintains sensor calibration and depth accuracy during shock and vibration. The system is designed as a platform to allow customer-specific product variations with a change in optics and the ability to provide both short- and long-range object detection.

"In order to scale past niche automotive R&D projects for ADAS and AV, lidar sensors must fit within the vehicle's acceptable system cost, package and reliability requirements," said Shauna McIntyre, CEO of Sense Photonics. "Sense pushed the boundaries of performance by designing application-specific VCSELs and SPADs that take advantage of the economics of wafer-scale fabrication."

The company is meeting with automotive OEMs and autonomous vehicle vendors about the technology and plans for production of the device in late 2024.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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