A Unit of Lidar Getting Cheaper in the Future

Rajeev Thakur, Opto Semiconductors’ Marketing Manager mentioned that the cost of a unit would be coming down to be under $100. He also mentioned that he was working with a 2-by-8 array -16 photodiodes with a range of 30 meters. The product will be installed in the car to avoid forward collision. Therefore it will take shape as a rectangle as the horizontal resolution should be much higher than the vertical resolution.

Osram is working with to make this product into a reality. Osram will be making the laser and photoreceptor components from indium gallium arsenide semiconductors which will integrate them into the lidar set. The end result of the product will be of the size of a business card which then wrapped such that the package will be bigger but overall it can still fit inside the windshield.

The lidar unit will bounce infrared light off objects in front and note the distance and the rate of change in distance. It does not scan mechanically like a roof-mounted tower does or electronically like the experimental setup that unveiled by DARPA last week. The laser peaks at 75 watts in a 30-nanosecond pulses which take up 0.5 percent of transmission time altogether. Therefore it is safe to be seen by the other road users.

It seems like other companies like Ibeo or TriLumina also making cheap automotive lidar as it is believed to become a mass-market product. NHTSA, U.S. regulator reported to be working on a slightly challenging grading system which is going to be released in 2019.

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