ams, Ibeo, ZF join forces for solid-state automotive lidar

May 20, 2019 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
ams, Ibeo, ZF join forces for solid-state automotive lidar
The race for lidar systems suitable for high volume production is heating up: After Israeli startup Innoviz, now Austrian chipmaker ams, lidar expert Ibeo Automotive systems and tier one supplier ZF Friedrichshafen (Ibeo’s parent company) plan to roll out a solid-state lidar sensor system. The trio even intends to pass Innoviz on the home stretch to be the first vendor capable of rolling out such a sensor.

An optical sensing technology that measures distance and direction of the surrounding objects by illuminating them with a laser beam and detecting the reflection of the object, lidar is considered an indispensable sensing technology for automated driving. Its unique range and resolution properties complement radar and camera solutions - and the `Holy Grail’ of the lidar technology is currently the solid-state approach because it enables building lidar sensors with no moving parts in them. The absence of moving parts makes the sensors much more lightweight, robust and compact, and it enables manufacturers to offer them at a significantly lower price than available systems that use rotating mirrors.

ams now announced that will provide automotive-grade VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) arrays and drivers which provide superior reliability and stability compared to competing light sources, such as edge emitters and LED. The Austrian semiconductor manufacturer claims to be the first to market with solid-state lidar illumination solutions, meaning no mechanical parts are needed to steer the light beam direction, improving reliability while reducing complexity.

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