Monday, September 06, 2021

Sony to Start Sampling SPAD LiDAR Sensor for Automotive Applications in March 2022

Sony announces the upcoming release of the IMX459 stacked SPAD depth sensor for automotive LiDAR applications, expected to become the industry first stacked SPAD in production.

This product packs 10 μm pixels and distance measuring processing circuit onto a single chip, making for a compact 1/2.9-type form factor. By leveraging Sony's technologies such as a BSI pixel structure, stacked configurations, and Cu-Cu connections created in the development of CMOS image sensors, Sony delivers 24% PDE at 905nm wavelength and improved responsiveness, enabling distance measuring at 15-centimeter range resolutions from long-range to short -range distances.

This product is set to be certified as meeting the requirements of the AEC-Q100 Grade 2 automotive electronic component reliability tests. Sony has also introduced a development process that complies with ISO 26262 automobile functional safety standards and supports functional safety requirement level ASIL- B(D) for functionalities such as failure detection, notification, and control. 

Sony publishes a video explaining its sensor features in a popular form:

Sony has also developed a mechanical scanning LiDAR reference design equipped with this new SPAD sensor, which is now being offered to customers and partners. Providing the design will help customers and partners save on man-hours in the LiDAR development process as well as reduce costs by optimizing device selection.


  1. So the real resolution is just 199 x 56?

    1. Yes, for 30cm depth accuracy. If you need 15cm, the resolution is 99 x 28.

    2. Thanks. Does that mean each pixel can resolve depth? (with high noise)
      // probably you mean precision, not accuracy

    3. Besides precision, outdoor uses usually demand multi-pixel for coincidence judgement to reject ambient light. The high digital sensitivity of SPAD does come with a caveat that any single noise photon or electron may trigger a false signal and not all of them can be ruled out by histogram from repetitive measurement.

    4. Sure, I see, thanks for the explanation

    5. I wonder how this effectively 11 kpixel SPAD sensor from Sony will compare with the announced 140 kpixel SPAD sensor from Sense Photonics which they claim can image a 10% target at 200m in full sunlight?

  2. Why "mechanical scanning LiDAR reference design"? Isn't that killing beauty of 2D sensing array? I would expect just 1 flash of LED/Laser.


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