New wide-angle LiDAR system with SPAD detectors from Fraunhofer IMS

Sensor systems with a wide field of view help make the environment detection of automated vehicles safer. In a recent report in the journal ElektronikPraxis, the start-up OQmented presents its new wide-angle LiDAR prototype with up to 180° horizontal coverage of its environment. It uses SPAD arrays from Fraunhofer IMS, as well as other components from partners in the FMD network (Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronik Deutschland).

The project was partially funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under grant numbers 16FMD01K, 16FMD02 and 16FMD03.

A winning combination of MEMS scanners and SPAD detectors for LiDAR is an important research aspect at Fraunhofer IMS. The current proof-of-principle demonstrator from OQmented has a high horizontal Field-of-View (FoV) and thus a large field of view for environmental sensing. In the vertical direction, the number of SPAD pixels determines which spatial coverage is possible with corresponding resolution. In the OQmented project (see recent article in ElektronikPraxis), the SPADeye2 sensor was used, a two-line sensor with 192 x 2 pixels and a TDC resolution of 312.5 ps. The latter value is decisive for the resolution in the third dimension, in depth, which converted here corresponds to a depth resolution of around 5 cm. The design and fabrication of new, high-resolution 2D-SPAD detectors is currently the focus of further LiDAR projects at Fraunhofer IMS, in order to enable further increases in pixel resolution and sensor sensitivity in the future and to realize compact systems. Recently, a new sensor generation of the CSPAD family was presented (see Newsletter 01/21). CSPAD alpha is the first hybrid version of a stacked SPAD and readout circuit wafer and is thus the basic technology for all further 2D SPAD array solutions based on 8-inch wafers.

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