Sense Photonics introduces modular Flash lidar for AVs

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Sense Photonics, a lidar company known for its solid-state Flash architecture, has officially entered the automotive market with the introduction of Osprey. It’s said to be the first modular Flash lidar for ADAS and autonomous driving. Units are priced at US$3,200 and are available now for preorder.

Osprey features a 75° vertical field of view that is also ultra-wide and dense, says its makers, enabling high-resolution object detection from the street curb to the horizon. It is designed as an easily-integrated modular package, combining an automotive-qualified near-field sensor with Sense Illuminator – a proprietary distributed VCSEL laser array comprising thousands of individual laser elements. Osprey will be used by Sense Photonics’ automotive partners to test and develop the next generation of autonomous platforms with “unprecedented performance and cost”.

“Near-field sensing has been a major challenge for the automotive industry, especially in the development of autonomous driving,” said Sense Photonics’ CEO, Scott Burroughs. “We designed Osprey to address key customer concerns, including affordability, reliability, and performance. Customers have been especially excited about our ability to eliminate all blind spots around the self-driving vehicle, all the way down to the curb, with unprecedented resolution.”

Sense Photonics worked with a major global manufacturing services provider on design-for-manufacturability to ensure that manufacturing processes for the Osprey would meet both the quality and scalability expectations of the automotive industry.

“Our simple, camera-like architecture is a significant benefit to customers looking for a scalable lidar product,” Burroughs continued. “By eliminating mechanical-scanning mechanisms, we’ve made Osprey much more manufacturable than other approaches. We believe this is critical to bringing the vision of autonomous driving to life.”

Sense Photonics is working with a number of automotive partners, including an unannounced Tier 1 supplier, multiple OEMs, major self-driving programs and German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon.

“Infineon is very excited to be working closely with Sense Photonics as it continues to push the limits in terms of near-field lidar solutions based on our automotive-qualified REAL3 Time-of-Flight imager,” said Christian Herzum, head of the 3D-Sensing product line at Infineon.

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