LeddarTech Inc., a developer of advanced detection and ranging systems, has developed LeddarCore LCA2, the first 3D solid-state LiDAR (SSL) integrated circuit (IC) that could enable mass production of automotive LiDARs. LeddarTech will now conduct industrial simulation of advanced LiDAR systems in partnership with OPTIS, a leading virtual prototyping company.
The LeddarCore LCA2 recently won two innovation awards at the CES 2018, one for Embedded Technologies and the other for Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving Technology.
What is LiDAR
LiDAR stands for Light Detection And Ranging. Similar to how SONAR works, a LiDAR sensor fires continuous beams of laser light and measures the time it takes for the light to return to the sensor. A LiDAR sensor creates a 3D visualisation of its surroundings by firing off millions of beams of light per second in all directions. Depending on the sensor capability, it is possible to deduce the exact measurement of any object situated at a distance of up to around ~60m.
LiDAR technology came into being in the 1960s and has been a popular tool in archaeology. More recently, LiDAR has found use in the automotive sector, driven by a growing interest in developing self-driving capabilities.
The 3D maps generated by LiDAR can help a vehicle navigate an environment. With the development in LiDAR technology, improved resolution and longer range is being used to detect and track. This can help differentiate between various obstacles and even identify their exact type and direction of their movement.
Leddar is a patented digital signal processing technology that combines advanced light wave digital signal processing and software algorithms to produce solid-state LiDARs. These sensors are currently used in automotive markets and other intelligent transport systems.
The LeddarCore LCA2 IC is the first 3D solid-state LiDAR integrated circuit solution. By being able to integrate the solid-state LiDAR (SSL) technology into relatively low-cost ICs could finally enable affordable production and deployment of automotive-grade LiDARs in mass-market vehicles.
The LeddarCore ICs can generate up to 245 000 digitized waveforms per second, which when processed using proprietary algorithms, can produce a LiDAR data set for autonomous driving applications or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
The partnership with OPTIS
Simulation solutions from OPTIS will be used to create safer and cost-effective virtual tests of the LiDAR systems. In the words of Michael Poulin, LeddarTech’s Automotive Solutions General Manager, “By providing an autonomous vehicle simulator that makes the same decisions as a real-world connected vehicle, the tool helps to eliminate costly and risky real-world tests of new LiDAR systems and contribute to reducing their time-to-market.”
OPTIS’s SPEOS and VRX simulation capabilities will be used to design and simulate real-time response of LeddarCore-based LiDAR systems. This will not only help automotive companies test and validate the technology, but also fine-tune their own systems to improve integration with the LiDAR solutions
The key to autonomous driving is the perception of the environment and fast and accurate response to any change in that environment. The impending trial and integration of the LCA2 IC with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) LiDAR solutions could potentially lead to mass production and deployment of SSL sensors by 2020. Given the expanding interest and potential developments in the autonomous driving space, successful trials of the LCA2 could potentially bring forward the possibility of mass production of autonomous vehicles.