7 August 2020
ams’ VCSELs used in Ibeo’s solid-state LiDAR for Great Wall Motor
The vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) technology of high-performance sensor designer and manufacturer ams AG of Premstaetten, Austria is a core component of the newly developed ibeoNEXT solid-state light detection & ranging (LiDAR) sensor system of Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, which is to be used in Level-3 automated driving on production vehicles at Great Wall Motor Company starting in 2022.
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 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.
Leveraging 20 years of automotive experience – including ISO 26262 – and a footprint in 3D consumer electronics, ams’ VCSEL array has what is claimed to be best-in-industry power density, conversion efficiency and pitch. The firm says that its R&D provides enhancements around integrated functional-safety standard and eye-safety features, leading to a highly robust technology. The specially designed VCSEL manufacturing technology allows for great flexibility in layout design regarding the number of pixels, their size and pitch, and specific addressability patterns. ams also says that it has the required capabilities to co-develop emitter, current driver and optics. The firm’s high-power VCSELs can differentiate in scan and flash applications as they are less sensitive to individual emitter failures, are more stable in temperature ranges, and are easy to integrate.
Through coupling Ibeo’s expertise in both software and technology, the flagship ibeoNEXT solid-state LiDAR sensor is claimed to offer best-in-class large detection range, high resolution and large vertical angle. The sensor will be used in Great Wall vehicles to enable a highway pilot to drive semi-autonomously at Level 3, as a milestone towards fully automated driving.
ams and Ibeo commenced joint LiDAR development in 2018 with the aim of providing solid-state LiDAR to the automotive market first for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and moving toward autonomous driving adoption.