27 August 2020
ams and Ibeo make progress in bringing solid-state LiDAR to automotive market
High-performance sensor designer and manufacturer ams AG of Premstaetten, Austria and Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, a specialist in automotive light detection & ranging (LiDAR) sensor technology and associated software, say that they have made progress in bringing to market solid-state LiDAR technology for autonomous driving.
ams and Ibeo began joint LiDAR development in 2018 on ibeoNext solid-state LiDAR sensor technology. Their aim is to provide solid-state LiDAR to the automotive market for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), moving towards autonomous driving adoption. The firms are developing what is claimed to be industry-first true solid-state LiDAR sensing. In October, Ibeo will start delivering working samples to customers globally.
“Ibeo and ams will continue to cooperate on key LiDAR technology for the automotive market, targeting mass-market availability in 2022,” says Ibeo Automotive Systems’ CEO Dr Ulrich Lages.
LiDAR systems emit laser pulses and then evaluate the light reflected from various objects. From the time-of-flight (the time it takes for the reflected laser pulse to reach the sensor again), software calculates the distance to the surrounding objects. Modern LiDAR systems can process many laser pulses in parallel: The result is a 3D model of the environment that recognizes crash barriers and road markings as well as cars, cyclists and pedestrians, their position and movement. In combination with a long range and a high spatial resolution, this accuracy is a key advantage of LiDAR technology. Unlike other LiDARs, the solid-state solution means no moving beam-steering mechanism, such as mechanical or MEMS mirrors, bringing significant benefits in terms of reliability and complexity.
ams says that its high-power vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) can differentiate in scan and flash applications because they are less sensitive to individual emitter failures, are more stable in temperature ranges, and are easy to integrate. Also, they can be formed in emitter arrays (making them easy to scale) and are addressable (for powering selective zones of the die), enabling true solid-state topology. In addition, ams’ R&D provides enhancements around integrated functional-safety standard and eye-safety features, making the technology highly robust.