Velodyne LiDAR Inc. has announced a new design for a solid-state LiDAR sensor that can deliver a subsystem cost of under $50 U.S. when sold at a high-volume manufacturing scale, the company claims.
According to Velodyne, the technology could impact the proliferation of LiDAR sensors in various industries, including drones, autonomous vehicles, ridesharing and 3D mapping.
LiDAR sensors that leverage the company’s new design will be less expensive, easier to integrate due to their smaller size, and more reliable as a result of fewer moving parts, Velodyne explains.
The technology can also be integrated in Velodyne LiDAR’s existing Puck form factors.
Velodyne LiDAR’s new design applies a monolithic gallium nitride (GaN) integrated circuit, developed in partnership with Efficient Power Conversion Corp. (EPC). The design consolidates components and results in significant advances in sensor miniaturization, reliability and cost reduction. Each integrated circuit is less than 4 square millimeters – which just covers George Washington’s nose on the U.S. quarter.
“As LiDAR technology continues to gain widespread adoption, GaN technology brings higher performance resulting in higher image resolution, all while offering enhanced integration of key functions that ultimately lead to reduced overall cost for LiDAR-based system solutions,” states Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of EPC.
Velodyne LiDAR’s design is currently being tested and integrated into future products; a release date announcement will be made in 2017.