The $100 Nova lidar sensor is 3.5 cm x 3.5 cm x 7.5 cm and weighs under 350g, making it the world’s smallest wide-field-of-view (FOV) lidar sensor for near-range applications. The device, says the company, is intended to address major gaps in proximity detection of objects with current sensor technologies.

“The Nova is an industry-first, transformational lidar that fundamentally changes the game for near-field sensing,” said Dr. Jun Pei, CEO of Cepton Technologies. “Currently, consumer vehicles have been limited to technologies that cannot facilitate true Level 3 or Level 4 autonomy for the mass market. Radars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors suffer from high false positives and false negatives.”

“Rotational lidars are not embeddable, making them impractical for consumer vehicles. Near-range flash lidars either lack the wide field of view or cannot match the power and size requirements to be discretely hidden all around the vehicle,” he said. “The Nova represents path-breaking lidar innovation for the automotive industry in that it achieves a level of performance that is unmatched for such a small form factor.”

The Nova features high-resolution 3D imaging with a high field of view of 90-120° (H) and 60-90° (V), depending on configuration. Powered by the company’s Micro Motion Technology (MMT), the non-rotational, mirrorless, and frictionless Nova lidar can be hidden all around a vehicle to provide a complete 360° view of its immediate surroundings.

The device has an angular resolution of up to 0.3°, with a maximum range of up to 30 m and is offered as ideal for automotive Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicle (AV) applications such as blind spot detection, small object detection, automated park assist, and free space estimation around the vehicle. For vehicles, a multi-lidar architecture can be facilitated, thereby creating a virtual safety zone all around while minimizing disruption to vehicle design aesthetics.

The Nova is ideally suited for accurate detection of objects in proximity, such as small children, on-road objects, road edges, stationary objects and more. With this level of capability and its ultra-compact design, says the company, Nova can not only support ADAS and AV applications but also autonomous ground vehicle (AGV) and smart industrial applications.

The modular design and easily accessible components make it highly manufacturable, with very low cost at high volume. It is offered as the first high-field-of-view, near-range lidar with an under $100 price point for high automotive volumes.

Nova is targeted for high volume production starting in 2023. Due to anticipated high demand for samples, Nova will only be available to select customers in 2021 through the company’s Early Access Program.

Cepton Technologies

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