Solid state automotive LiDAR: physics principles, design challenges, and new developments

Slawomir Piatek, Ph.D., Hamamatsu Corporation and New Jersey Institute of Technology
June 2, 2020

About this webinar

The automotive industry and academia are actively engaged in applied research developing systems needed to make cars fully autonomous. One such system is LiDAR: it is needed to provide high-definition 3D information of the car’s surroundings at the video rate and up to a distance of about 200 meters. A complete design of a functional LiDAR is proving to be elusive, with beam steering and photodetection presenting the greatest engineering challenge.

This is a third webinar sponsored by Hamamatsu that explores technical aspects of automotive LiDAR. Its focus is a Solid State LiDAR - a specific design that does not contain any moving parts.

Topics of presentation:

  1. Review of time-of-flight (ToF) and frequency modulation continuous wave (FMCW) concepts in measuring distance with light.
  2. Discussion of non-mechanical beam steering techniques, with a focus on flash illumination, structured-light illumination, and beam steering with an optical phase array.
  3. Photodetection, with a focus on 2D detectors: SPAD arrays and optical phase antennas.
  4. Discussion of optical design in flash ToF LiDAR.
  5. Discussion of front-end-electronics in flash ToF LiDAR.
  6. Report on the current development status of functional SPAD arrays.
  7. Report on the current development status of complete ASICs for ToF LiDAR.
  8. Discussion of future prospects and developments.

About the presenter

Slawomir S. Piatek has been measuring proper motions of nearby galaxies using images obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope as a senior university lecturer of physics at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has developed a photonics training program for engineers at Hamamatsu Corporation in New Jersey in the role of a science consultant. Also at Hamamatsu, he is involved in popularizing a SiPM as a novel photodetector by writing and lecturing about it, and by experimenting with the device. He earned a Ph.D. in Physics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in 1994.

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