MEMS lidar detects vehicles and pedestrians

March 31, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
MEMS lidar detects vehicles and pedestrians
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has developed a compact light-detection and ranging (lidar) solution incorporating a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) that achieves an extra-wide horizontal scanning angle to accurately detect the shapes and distances of objects ahead in autonomous driving systems.

Mitsubishi Electric’s lidar solution uses a horizontal and vertical MEMS mirror to scan for the reflected laser beam, generating three-dimensional images of vehicles and pedestrians. The company expects this compact, low-cost solution to contribute to the realization of safe, secure autonomous driving.

Key features include a large dual-axis electromagnetic mirror with unique lightweight design enabling wide scanning angle as well as an optimized design that supports downsizing and acquisition of 3-D images over a wide area.

After objects are irradiated by laser, the maximum amount of reflected light must be collected in order to obtain the most precise 3D images, particularly of vehicles and pedestrians. Lidar systems therefore require mirrors with a large surface area in order to maximize light collection. Additionally, a wide scanning angle is required for accurate vehicle periphery monitoring. Mitsubishi Electric's development incorporates the industry's largest electromagnetic MEMS mirror, measuring 7mm by 5mm, in a lightweight design which is able to scan horizontally and vertically. Despite its size, the unique structure of the MEMS mirror facilitates a reduction in weight without sacrificing rigidity. The lightweight design and high electromagnetically generated driving force allows the mirror to achieve large horizontal movement of ±15 degrees. Vertical movement is currently ±3.4 degrees, and Mitsubishi Electric aims to increase this to ±6.0 degrees or more by improving the beam structure of the MEMS.

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