Analog Devices, First Sensor join forces for lidar development

June 26, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Analog Devices, First Sensor join forces for lidar development
Today’s lidar systems have at average 150 ICs which is one of the reasons while these sensors are still way too expensive for series vehicles. A collaboration between Analog Devices (ADI) and First Sensor AG will make a contribution to develop more affordable lidar sensors. The collaboration does not only aim at the automotive market, but likewise to unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles in transportation, smart agriculture, industrial manufacturing and other industries.

As part of the collaboration, Analog Devices and First Sensor are developing offerings that shrink the lidar signal chain to enable higher system performance as well as reduce size, weight, power and cost for manufacturers designing sensing and perception technology into their autonomous safety systems. The companies also plan to develop other lidar products that will serve automotive and industrial manufacturing applications.

As a first step of the collaboration, both companies plan to optimize ADI’s transimpedance amplifiers (TIAs) with First Sensor’s avalanche photodiodes (APDs). Thus, the duo hopes to be able to offer more powerful and efficient lidar solutions and better support the mass commercial launch of lidar systems into the autonomous transportation market, said Stewart Sellars, general manager, lidar, Analog Devices.

Analog Devices has a long-standing tradition in developing sensor technology for transportation safety. Recent developments include multi-channel TIAs specifically designed to convert wide dynamic range photocurrent into a low-impedance voltage signal. First Sensor also has more than 25 years of experience manufacturing lidar APDs, which are highly sensitive detector arrays that convert light into photocurrent. Optimizing the interconnection between the APDs and TIAs is considered critical as it influences the noise floor and bandwidth achieved. Improvements in these two parameters translate to lidar systems which can detect objects at longer range and with higher precision.

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