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Ibeo and ams solid-state LiDAR technology used by Great Wall Motor to enable future autonomous driving vehicles

ams, a leading worldwide supplier of high performance sensor solutions, and Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH, the German specialist and a global technology supplier for automotive LiDAR sensor technology and the associated software, confirmed that ams Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) technology is a core component of Ibeo’s newly-developed solid-state LiDAR solution, ibeoNEXT.

VCSELs offer specific advantages over other types of light sources, ams says, including:

  • A narrower wavelength bandwidth (especially over temperature) allows for more effective filtering at the receiver, resulting in improved signal to noise ratio.

  • Emitting a vertical cylindrical beam, the integration into the system is more straightforward.

  • As a VCSEL array typically comprises of 50-10k of individual emitters, the impact of a single emitter failure is much more limited compared to a typical EEL having just 1-3 emitters.

Ibeo’s LiDAR system will be used in Level-3 automated driving on production vehicles at Great Wall Motor Company starting in 2022.

Leveraging 20 years of automotive experience—including ISO 26262—and a significant footprint in 3D consumer electronics, ams is an industry leader when it comes to VCSEL technology. The ams VCSEL array has best-in-industry power density, conversion efficiency, and pitch. ams R&D provides enhancements around integrated functional-safety standard and eye-safety features, leading to a highly-robust technology.

The specially-designed VCSEL manufacturing technology allows for great flexibility in layout design regarding number of pixels, their size and pitch, and specific addressability patterns. In addition, ams has the required capabilities to co-develop emitter, current driver, and optics. The company’s high-power VCSELs can differentiate in scan and flash applications as they are less sensitive to individual emitter failures, are more stable in temperature ranges, and are easy to integrate.

Ibeo’s flagship ibeoNEXT will be used in Great Wall vehicles to enable a highway pilot to drive semi-autonomously at Level 3. The ibeoNEXT takes the company’s technology in LiDAR sensors further. The ibeoNEXT solid-state LiDAR offers best-in-class large detection range, high resolution, and large vertical angle.

LiDAR systems emit laser pulses and then evaluate the light reflected from various objects. From the time-of-flight, software calculates the distance to the surrounding objects. Modern LiDAR systems can process many laser pulses in parallel: The result is a 3D model of the environment that recognizes crash barriers and road markings as well as cars, cyclists, and pedestrians, their position and movement.

In combination with a long-range and a high spatial resolution, this accuracy is a key advantage of LiDAR technology. Unlike other LiDARs, the solid-state solution means no moving beam-steering mechanism, such as mechanical or MEMS mirrors. This brings significant benefits in terms of reliability and complexity.

ams and Ibeo commenced joint LiDAR development in 2018 with the aim of providing solid-state LiDAR to the automotive market first for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and moving toward autonomous driving adoption.

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