Friday, January 03, 2020

LiDAR News: Robosense, Bosch, Velodyne, Sony

BusinessWire, Thomas-PR: RoboSense solid-state LiDAR RS-LiDAR-M1Simple (Simple Sensor Version) is now ready for customer delivery, priced at $1,898. The new RS-LiDAR-M1Simple is less than half the size of the previous version, with dimensions of 4.3” x 1.9” x 4.7” (110mm x 50mm x 120mm), and its hardware performance is "virtually equal to the serial production version provided to OEMs." The main body design of this automotive-grade solid-state LiDAR is finalized and ready for shipment.

In addition, RoboSense will demonstrate the world’s first smart solid-state LiDAR, the RS-LiDAR-M1Smart (Smart Sensor Version) with an on-vehicle public road test. The RS-LiDAR-M1 family is said to have the performance advantages of traditional mechanical LiDAR, simultaneously also taking into consideration requirements for the mass production of vehicles. The RS-LiDAR-M1 family meets every automotive-grade requirement, including intelligence, low cost, stability, simplified structure and small size, vehicle body design friendliness, and algorithm processed semantic-level perception output results.

The RS-LiDAR-M1 is an optimal choice for the serial production of self-driving cars, far superior to mechanical LiDAR. The sooner solid-state LiDAR is used, the sooner production will be accelerated to mass-market levels,” said Mark Qiu, RoboSense COO.

RS-LiDAR-M1 Family Features:
  • 125 laser beams: the RS-LiDAR-M1 has a field of view of 120°*25°, which is the MEMS solid-state LiDAR’s largest field of view among released products worldwide. RoboSense uses 905nm lasers with low cost, automotive grade and small size instead of expensive 1550nm lasers. RoboSense breaks ranging ability limits to 150m at 10% NIST target, which is also MEMS solid-state LiDAR’s longest detection range. The frame rate of RS-LiDAR-M1 is increased to 15Hz, which can reduce the impact of point cloud distortion caused by target movement.
  • World’s smallest MEMS solid-state LiDAR: the size has been reduced by half, one-tenth the size of conventional 64-beam mechanical LiDAR.
  • Reduced parts for lower cost, shorter production time, and large-scale production capacity. Parts have reduced from hundreds to dozens in comparison to traditional mechanical LiDARs, greatly reducing the cost and shortening production time -- achieving a breakthrough in manufacturability. The coin-sized module processes the optical-mechanical system results to meet autonomous driving performance and mass production requirements.
  • Modular design: the scalability and layout flexibility of the optical module lay the foundation for subsequent MEMS LiDAR products and support the customization of products for different application cases.
  • Stable and reliable: the RS-LiDAR-M1 uses VDA6.3 as the basis for project management, and the development of all modules undergoes a complete V model closed loop. RoboSense fully implemented IATF16949 quality management system and ISO26262 functional safety standards, combining ISO16750 test requirement and other automotive-grade reliability specifications to verify the RS-LiDAR-M1 series of products. MEMS mirror is the core component in RS-LiDAR-M1. According to the AEC-Q100 standard, combining the characteristics of MEMS micro-mirror, a total of ten verification test groups are designed covering temperature, humidity, packaging process, electromagnetic compatibility, mechanical vibration and shock, life-time, and others. The cumulative test time for all test samples has now exceeded 100,000 hours. The RS-LiDAR-M1 uses 905nm lasers to achieve long-distance and also meets Class 1 laser safety. The longest-running prototype has been tested for more than 300 days, while the total road test mileage exceeds 150,000 kilometers with no degradation found in various testing scenarios.
  • All-weather: In Vienna, Austria, the RS-LiDAR-M1 was tested for rain and fog under different light and wind speed conditions. The test results prove that the RS-LiDAR-M1 has met the standards, and the final mass-produced RS-LiDAR-M1 will adapt to all climatic and working conditions.
  • Minimal wear and tear: as a solid-state LiDAR, the RS-LiDAR-M1 has minimal wear and tear vs. movable mechanical structures, eliminating potential optoelectronic device failures due to mechanical rotation. The characteristics of solid-state provide a reasonable internal layout, heat dissipation, and stability -- a leap in quality as compared to mechanical LiDAR.

The hardware-only version of RS-LiDAR-M1 is currently available for customers, with a retail price of $1898. RoboSense will deliver current orders from key customers and upgrade the production line in Q1 2020, completing retail product delivery by Q1 2020.

Reuters: Bosch announces that it has developed LiDAR too: "The new Bosch sensor will cover both long and close ranges – on highways and in the city. By exploiting economies of scale, Bosch wants to reduce the price for the sophisticated technology and render it suitable for the mass market."

BusinessWire: Velodyne is to present its Five Diamonds rating system to clarify and standardize terminology for ADAS features. The system aims to encourage transparency in the marketplace and promote the maximum positive effect of ADAS technologies.

FinancialTimes: Sony joins the race to develop automotive LiDAR.

Smartphones probably made the biggest impact in the 21st century in terms of changing people’s lives. Mobility is next,” says Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony CEO. The company's new solid-state LiDAR is said to be Si-based, long-range, lower-cost, compact, and insensitive to vibrations, according to FT sources.

In spite of success on image sensor market, Sony penetration to automotive applications has been quite limited. According to TSR, in 2018, Sony was on 5th place in automotive image sensors with a 3% market share, compared with 62% of ON Semi and 20% of OmniVision.

I kept on asking why we couldn’t reverse our market position despite our sensors obviously being better than others,” says Terushi Shimizu, EVP of Sony Semiconductor group. “But we didn’t want to be drawn into the cost-cutting competition. We want our sensors to be used because our technology is better.

Update: Zacks Research too publishes an article on Sony automotive LiDAR plans.

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