As part of the collaboration, Analog Devices and First Sensor are developing offerings that shrink the lidar signal chain to enable higher system performance as well as reduce size, weight, power and cost for manufacturers designing sensing and perception technology into their autonomous safety systems. The companies also plan to develop other lidar products that will serve automotive and industrial manufacturing applications.
As a first step of the collaboration, both companies plan to optimize ADI’s transimpedance amplifiers (TIAs) with First Sensor’s avalanche photodiodes (APDs). Thus, the duo hopes to be able to offer more powerful and efficient lidar solutions and better support the mass commercial launch of lidar systems into the autonomous transportation market, said Stewart Sellars, general manager, lidar, Analog Devices.
Analog Devices has a long-standing tradition in developing sensor technology for transportation safety. Recent developments include multi-channel TIAs specifically designed to convert wide dynamic range photocurrent into a low-impedance voltage signal. First Sensor also has more than 25 years of experience manufacturing lidar APDs, which are highly sensitive detector arrays that convert light into photocurrent. Optimizing the interconnection between the APDs and TIAs is considered critical as it influences the noise floor and bandwidth achieved. Improvements in these two parameters translate to lidar systems which can detect objects at longer range and with higher precision.
“The market for lidar systems is maturing with customers expecting a renewed focus on implementing economically and technically compatible solutions,” said First Sensor CEO Dirk Rothweiler. “Adapting APDs and TIAs to each other is a logical next step in this evolution. By expanding our cooperation with Analog Devices, our customers will benefit from better lidar receiver performance.”
The lidar technology is a growth driver for First Sensor. The company is preparing for the requirements of volume production with forward integration and an accelerated cost roadmap in line with its strategy for profitable growth.
First Sensor and Analog Devices will each offer a common evaluation board with which system manufacturers can test the combined solution.
This cooperation with First Sensor marks Analog Devices’ next phase in implementing its Drive360 autonomous driving solutions strategy. ADI’s Drive360 suite of technologies leverage ADI’s core competencies in high performance MEMS, RF/mmWave, and photonics/optics technologies, allowing ADI to provide the automotive industry with holistic solutions for highly automated and autonomous driving technology needs.