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Analog Devices and First Sensor to develop new lidar solutions

02 Jul 2019

Optimizing interconnect between APDs and TIAs is partners' focus – with the aim of accelerating “future of autonomous driving”.

Analog Devices, Norwood, Ma, US, has announced a collaboration with First Sensor, Berlin, Germany, to develop technologies to accelerate the launch of autonomous sensing technology for unmanned automotive, aerial and underwater vehicles in transportation, smart agriculture, industrial manufacturing and other industries.

As part of the collaboration, the two companies are developing systems 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 are also planning to develop other lidar products that will serve automotive and industrial manufacturing applications.

Stewart Sellars, general manager, lidar, at Analog Devices, commented, “The first step in our collaboration is to optimize our transimpedance amplifiers with First Sensor’s avalanche photodiodes to be able to offer customers more powerful and efficient lidar solutions, and better support the mass commercial launch of lidar systems into the autonomous transportation market.”

Photocurrent converters

Recent developments by Analog Devices include multi-channel TIAs specifically designed to convert wide dynamic range photocurrent into a low-impedance voltage signal. First Sensor also has significant experience manufacturing lidar APDs – highly sensitive detector arrays that convert light into photocurrent.

Optimizing the interconnection between the APDs and TIAs is critical as it significantly influences the noise floor and bandwidth that can be achieved. The partners agree that achieving improvements in these two parameters directly translates to enabling lidar systems that can detect objects at longer range and with higher precision.

Dirk Rothweiler, CEO of First Sensor, added, “The market for lidar systems is maturing with customers expecting a renewed focus on implementing economically and technically compatible solutions. 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.”

Lidar 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 and be a dedicated partner for highly automated and autonomous driving technology needs.

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