Tuesday, October 01, 2019

LiDAR News: Blickfeld, Outsight, Cepton, Ouster, 1550nm Laser Safety

Blickfeld presents is long range Cube LiDAR family featuring the range up to 250m (with 80% subject reflectivity, no sunlight illumination specified):

Outsight publishes its presentation on France24 International channel:

BusinessWire: Cepton announces Vista-X120 long range LiDAR. It's said to offer a 120° horizontal FOV, 0.15° angular resolution, and a maximum detection range of up to 200 meters at 10% reflectivity. Based on Cepton’s patented Micro Motion Technology (MMT), the frictionless beam-steering architecture is claimed to make Vista-X120 highly rugged and durable.

BusinessWire: Ouster LiDAR is going to be used by NVIDIA in its self-driving DRIVE AGX platform.

Commercial autonomous vehicles have to withstand some of the world’s most demanding environments,” said Ouster CEO Angus Pacala. “The OS2’s reliability and resolution make it the clear choice for NVIDIA’s OEM partners that require the highest level of dependability.

For autonomous driving systems, Ouster’s structured lidar data can increase input processing speeds by up to 100-times over traditional unstructured lidar data when using vector processors like NVIDIA GPUs. This enables faster object recognition and lower power requirements for the autonomous driving system.

Engadget: Ouster also proud of being able to catch on LiDAR the blackest colored car - BMW X6 SUV Vantablack absorbing 99% of light:

LaserFocus questions the common opinion that 1550nm wavelength is much safer than 905nm:

"There has been a claim that one person suffered a corneal burn from a 1550-nm laser that had been assessed as "eye safe at the exit aperture," but details remain private. Based on what little information is available, safety consultant and optical radiation biophysicist Bruce Struck says, "It seems possible but would have required an unusual viewing situation." Nonetheless, he says "we need thoughtful and comprehensive measurements."

A potential long-term danger is failure to filter out short-wavelength infrared pump light, a problem the National Institute of Standards and Technology found was common several years ago in green laser pointers. Fiber-laser lidars are pumped by diode lasers emitting in the 900 nm band, which can pose a retinal risk. Careful design and manufacturing can prevent hazardous leaks, but the NIST study shows that some makers of inexpensive lasers cut corners.

Early developers disclosed few details about their 1550-nm lidars, so many observers assumed they used diode lasers. However, fiber lasers offer better beam quality and have other performance advantages. "As far as we know, everyone using 1550 nm for automotive lidar is using some form of fiber amplification" pumped at wavelengths below one micrometer, says Matthew Weed, director of technology strategy for Luminar Technologies (Orlando, FL). Luminar's fiber lidars amplify seed pulses from diode lasers.

The pumping laser leakage might be yet another possible explanation the image sensor damage case at CES.

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