MEMS and Sensors

Tower develops lidar chip for ADAS and self-driving cars

14 September 2021

Tower Semiconductor has announced lidar chip technology designed for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and eventually self-driving cars.

The technology was developed by Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at USC Viterbi School of Engineering and will be manufactured using Tower Semiconductor’s open foundry silicon photonics platform.

The technology uses optical phased arrays with amplitude and phase modulators on a silicon chip for 3D imaging of the surrounding environment without the need for any moving parts. The field of view, resolution, scanning pattern and scanning speed are programmable, allowing a car to be outfitted with this system can respond better to real-world scenarios.

Tower’s PH18 silicon photonics platform offers optical components such as ultra-high bandwidth modulators and photodetectors that serve the demand in data center and infrastructure optical communication markets.

The lidar chip operates at a 1,550 nm wavelength using continuous wave frequency modulation (FMCW) to be more resilient to environmental brightness and interferences.

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