Shining CES2020, solid-state lidar or will lead autonomous driving?
Lidar has always been one of the main components of auto-driving technology, but the cost of hundreds of thousands of yuan has limited its popular application. In recent years, with the large investment of large semiconductor manufacturers such as Bosch, ON Semiconductor, and Infineon, solid-state lidar based on micro-electromechanical (MEMS) and optical phased array (OPA) technology is maturing and has the ability to replace traditional Mechanical Lidar. In the future, solid-state lidar is expected to play a major role in autonomous driving recognition.
Solid-state lidar shines at CES2020
At the recent CES2020 exhibition, Lidar became one of the highlights. On the eve of the launch, German auto parts supplier Bosch announced that its first car-grade lidar chip has entered the mass production development stage. This series of products can cover long-distance and short-distance detection, and is suitable for autonomous driving scenarios of highways and urban roads. More importantly, Bosch hopes to reduce the cost of lidar through mass production and promote market promotion.
ON Semiconductor is one of the major manufacturers in the field of image sensors. In recent years, it has invested in areas such as lidar, millimeter wave radar and graphic sensor chips. At this CES, ON Semiconductor focused on lidar chips and showed the industry's first high-resolution, wide-field single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array detector. SPAD arrays are low-light photon detector chips that can be used in different types of lidars, including short-range, mid-range, and long-range.
Since last year, Osram has reported that it will enter the lidar market. At this CES, Osram showed the lidar technology applied to the autonomous driving concept car MetroSnap. MetroSnap is an L5 level self-driving car. Osram claims that its lidar technology can draw a 3D map of the vehicle's surroundings through infrared pulse lasers, enabling the MetroSnap concept car to achieve safer autonomous driving.
Chinese companies are also emerging in the field of lidar. At CES2020, Livox, a company incubated by DJI, released two lidar sensors: Horizon and Tele-15. Lanwo Technology said that the two Lidars are designed for L3 / L4 autonomous driving, and are high-performance, low-cost, and mass-producable sensor solutions. In this way, Langwo Technology has also established partnerships with autonomous driving startups Refraction AI and AutoX.
Rapid development comparable to mechanical products
Lidar has always been one of the main components for the realization of automotive autonomous driving technology. It has the advantages of high resolution, strong anti-interference ability, and large amount of information acquired. However, its high cost also limits its popular application. Tesla CEO Musk has publicly stated: "Fools only use lidar. Now whoever wants to rely on lidar will be doomed!" However, with the large semiconductor manufacturers such as Bosch, ON Semiconductor, and Infineon, Solid-state lidar is maturing.
Experts point out that the so-called solid-state lidar is different from the traditional mechanical rotary lidar. It uses MEMS, optical phased array (OPA) and other scanning methods to identify object information in order to collect road condition information and provide data for autonomous driving. The role of foundation. And compared with mechanical lidar, solid-state lidar has advantages in cost, size, reliability and service life.
So, is the current solid-state lidar comparable to mechanical lidar? According to the product parameters released by Lanwo Technology, Horizon has a detection range of 260 meters and a horizontal field of view angle of 81.7 °. It can cover 4 lanes within a distance of 10 meters, which is equivalent to a traditional 64-line lidar. Can achieve 360 ° scene coverage. At the same time, Horizon has high density point clouds and small volume, which can be easily embedded in vehicles. Tele-15 has a detection range of 500 meters and is designed for long-distance detection. It has the advantages of compact size, high accuracy and durability. It can scan 99.8% of the area within a 15 ° circular field of view in 0.1 seconds. For traditional 128-line lidar.
Leilei Shinohara, partner and vice president of Libo solution provider RoboSense, also said, "We have partnered with ON Semiconductor to leverage the RD series of SiPM series, which has rapidly surpassed the use of older lidar manufacturers by older Performance provided by APD technology and mechanical scanning architecture.
Expected to accelerate commercial process
Lidar has always been the most expensive sensor in autonomous vehicles, and various component suppliers and lidar startups want to reduce lidar production costs to achieve economies of scale. With the gradual maturity of solid-state lidar technology, the cost of solid-state lidar can be greatly reduced due to changing the data read-write mode and eliminating the need for rotating parts, which is expected to promote the rapid expansion of market applications.
When announcing the lidar chip, a Bosch spokesperson stated that Bosch's lidar has been developed and the price will be lower than other lidars on the market, making it an affordable product for the general public. Lanwo Technology directly pulled the price of lidar below 10,000 yuan, Horizon's offer was 6,499 yuan, and Tele-15 was 9,000 yuan. Deng Ruihao, Global Marketing Director of Lanwo Technology, said that what DJI has been promoting is to popularize cutting-edge technology, and this idea is also applicable to Livox.
With the entry of large semiconductor manufacturers such as Bosch and ON Semiconductor into the field of lidar, especially the entry of Chinese chip makers, lidar technology should make a breakthrough, and its price is expected to drop further. The decline in core chip prices directly affects the price of lidar, which is expected to come from the era of 10,000 yuan to the era of 1,000 yuan.
From an application perspective, the application of lidar still needs to be combined with millimeter-wave radar, cameras and other equipment. Lars Reger, senior vice president and chief technology officer of NXP, said, "Lidar, radar, and cameras are like the line of sight that human eyes can see." They should complement each other and be used in combination.
The advantages of millimeter-wave radar are that the detection distance is relatively long, the accuracy is very high, and it is not affected by weather and light. Millimeter-wave radar is more sensitive to moving metal objects, but to stationary metal or non-metal objects, moving non-metal objects are less sensitive and have lower resolution. Lidar's ranging accuracy is very high, it can basically reach plus or minus one or two centimeters, and the resolution is very high. However, lidar is susceptible to sunlight, rain, fog and mutual interference. The camera can perform various types of recognition operations through rich imaging information, such as pedestrians, deformed objects, parking lot bars, and traffic signs. The combination of different schemes can play a complementary role. In fact, at present, mainstream semiconductor manufacturers such as Bosch, ON Semiconductor, and NXP have three relatively complete product lines of technology and are committed to creating overall solutions.
Editor-in-chief: Chen Bingxin