VCSEL array as core component for Ibeo's solid-state lidar : Page 2 of 2

July 11, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
VCSEL array as core component for Ibeo's solid-state lidar
The semiconductor manufacturer ams is investing massively in the development of products and technologies for customers in the automotive market. The company intends to double its resources for this market segment within 18 months. Cooperation with the Lidar expert Ibeo Automotive Systems plays an important role in this. The two partners presented their technology at an event in Munich.

So how does this sensor work? And what does all this have to do with ams? The sensor achieves its high resolution by arranging VCSEL's Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser). It is an array of infrared laser sources with 128 columns and 100 rows. These laser sources are mutiplexed column by column and the reflected beams are then received as a point cloud from which an image of the surroundings is then calculated. These VCSELs are delivered by ams, as well as the corresponding driver circuits.

The Ibeo laser scans the environment column by column. In specific
cases, the sequence can be altered or randomized. (C) Ibeo

This method allows very short laser pulses with high peak power. This results in the specific properties of the Ibeo laser, as Kiehn explains: high range of 200 m, large field of view and the ability to detect even small obstacles. In addition, there is an extremely compact, robust design. A further advantage is that the separate control of the individual laser sources makes it possible to change the sequence of the scans as required and, for example, to increase the scan frequency at critical points in order to eliminate interference and obtain more accurate images. "A system with mechanical components cannot do this," explained Kiehn.  The laser sensor generated a data volume of about 20 GBit/s, which is then reduced to about 50 Mbit/s using sophisticated algorithms.

The sensor is expected to be ready for series production in 2022. As one of the major shareholders, the automotive supplier ZF is Ibeo's "preferred Tier One". However, it is not supplied exclusively. "We also serve other customers," says Kiehn.


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