Indie Semiconductor and SiLC Technologies have forged a partnership to develop chip-integrated LiDAR platforms for applications in such areas as robotics, industrial automation, autonomous vehicles and driver safety.
SiLC Technologies (Monrovia, CA, USA) develops frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR solutions, while indie Semiconductor (Aliso Viejo, CA, USA) develops automotive semiconductors and software platforms for advanced driver-assistance systems, user experience and electrification applications.
Executives at the two companies believe FMCW LiDAR, emitting at the 1550 nm wavelength, provides advantages for 3D sensing applications. Specifically, it does not have some of the issues associated with pulsed LiDAR, emitting at 905 nm wavelength, such as costly assembly processes and eye safety concerns.
Ralf Muenster, vice president of business development and marketing at SiLC, says that FMCW has other advantages as well, including submillimeter 3D sensing performance and a direct motion detection capability. “Its capability for direct motion detection facilitates low-latency motion path planning in robotics, which is particularly useful in scenarios such as shifting packages on a conveyor belt,” he adds.
Under the partnership, the two companies have already developed their first fully functional FMCW LiDAR reference design, which is currently being evaluated by potential customers, explains, Chet Babla, senior vice president of strategic marketing at indie Semiconductor.
The new platform combines SiLC’s product, Eyeonic Vision Sensor, an FMCW optical engine, and indie Semiconductor’s Surya, a SoC designed specifically for FMCW LiDAR processing.
In describing the benefits of the jointly developed solution for machine vision developers and integrators, Muenster says, “Full chip integration is crucial for reducing the cost, power consumption, and size of 3D sensing solutions.”