The next-generation Lidar technology is optimal for high performance and power requirements of automotive, industrial and consumer markets
Claiming to be the industry’s smallest and most cost-effective 3D sensing solution, the Meta-Lidar Platform from Lumotive is a tiny lidar device with patented beam steering technology, software-defined scan modes and a reference system design. Powered by highly scalable Light Control Metasurface silicon chips (LCMs) manufactured in a standard CMOS semiconductor process, the Meta-Lidar Platform is a scalable solution for a range of sizes, prices, performance and power requirements, benefiting 3D sensing in automotive, industrial and consumer applications.
The M30 of the Meta-Lidar Platform sets a new size/cost/performance standard, thanks to features such as 10-20 metre range, a field of view of 120º x 90º and 640 x 480 resolution — all in a golf ball-sized form factor suited for integration around vehicles and robots for autonomy and safety cocoon applications. The M30 is the first in a series of Lumotive products scalable for sensing ranges from 5 to 200 meters and form factors less than 1 cubic centimetre for integration into smartphones, AR devices and wearables.
The company’s Light Control Metasurface (LCM) solid-state beam steering chips significantly reduce the cost and size of lidar systems while improving performance and fidelity. Manufactured in proven and scalable CMOS semiconductor processes, LCM chips eliminate the need for mechanical moving parts while delivering new perception, detection and navigation levels in autonomous systems. LCM technology enables the industry’s first software-defined lidar capability, allowing the lidar scan pattern, frame rate and resolution to be customised for specific use cases.
“There is a huge opportunity to address the requirements of price-sensitive applications that need near-range and smaller size solutions,” said Alexis Debray, PhD. Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Emerging Technologies at Yole Développement (Yole). “The market for automotive, industrial and smart city lidar-enabled products is expected to reach US$ 5.7B by 2026 with short-range applications accounting for a significant portion of the total. A 10–20-metre range is adequate for peripheral sensing in cars, factory robots or small-scale delivery vehicles, for example. Lumotive’s unique all-silicon, solid-state approach gives it specific advantages in cost, size and reliability, as well as a scalable platform that product developers can leverage to meet specific price/performance needs across a range of uses.”
Making Lidar Ubiquitous and Scalable
Unlike vehicle navigation systems that require long-range lidar for detecting objects at ranges of 200 metres or more, other mobility and AR applications require less powerful lasers to scale to smaller sizes, lower costs and less energy consumption. But the traditional approaches involving moving-mirror assemblies are unable to scale. On the other hand, low-cost sensing solutions using ultrasonics, cameras or 2D sensing don’t provide the needed performance, reliability or accuracy for many safety-critical applications in mobility and industrial automation.
“To make lidar truly ubiquitous, the industry needs compact, low-power and mass production-ready 3D sensing systems at competitive price points,” said Gleb Akselrod, CTO and co-founder of Lumotive. “By taking advantage of semiconductor economics and scaling, which have proven to be the winning formula in so many other application areas, the Meta-Lidar Platform can provide the performance and flexibility needed for volume production and mass adoption.”
Till now, more than a dozen world-class mobility, industrial automation and consumer product companies are using Lumotive’s Meta-Lidar Platform’s high-performance, small form factor and low-cost advantages to differentiate next-generation designs for autonomous vehicle, warehousing, logistics and augmented reality (AR) applications. And even more industry players are expected to adopt it in the future.
The M30 of the Meta-Lidar Platform will be in commercial production by the end of 2022.