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Ouster reveals details of novel ADAS lidar system

15 Nov 2018

3D sensing "multi-beam flash lidar" solid-state solution uses only two chips enabled by recent patents.

Ouster, a manufacturer of high-resolution lidar sensors, has announced details of its underlying technology, revealing a departure from what it calls “niche and high-cost materials that are commonly used in the lidar industry.

Several fundamental breakthroughs covered by recently granted patents have enabled Ouster's move toward state-of-the art, high volume, silicon-based sensors and lasers that operate in a near-infrared light spectrum.”

Ouster's statement adds that Its approach to lidar is “speeding the deployment of technology ranging from autonomous vehicles, to large-scale mobile robotics, to long-range mapping drones”.

The new category, called multi-beam flash lidar, offers significant advantages over traditional approaches, claims the company:

  • True solid state - Ouster's core technology is a two chip (one monolithic laser array, one monolithic receiver ASIC) solid state lidar core;
  • Integrated in Ouster’s mechanically scanning product lines (the OS-1 and OS-2); and
  • Will be configured as a standalone device in a future solid state product.

'85% cheaper'

This two chip lidar core contains no moving parts on the macro or micro scale while retaining the performance advantages of scanning systems through its multi-beam flash lidar technology. Ouster claims that its OS-1 64 sensor “costs nearly 85% less than competing sensors, making it the most economical sensor on the market. The company has decoupled cost from increases in resolution by placing all critical functionality on scalable semiconductor dies,” it states.

The OS-1 64 contains just two custom semiconductor chips capable of firing lasers and sensing the light that reflects back to the sensor. This approach replaces the thousands of discrete, delicately positioned components in a traditional lidar with just two.

Because of the sensor's simpler architecture, Ouster's devices are significantly smaller, lighter weight and more power efficient, making them suitable for applications in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), handheld and backpack-based mapping applications, and small robotic platforms.

In an article on the company's website, CEO Angus Pacala states, "Ouster has been granted foundational patents for our multi-beam flash lidar technology, which allows me to talk more openly about the incredible technology we've developed over the last three years and why we're going to lead the market with a portfolio of low-cost, compact, semiconductor-based lidar sensors in both scanning and solid state configurations."

Mad City Labs, Inc.LaCroix Precision OpticsFirst Light ImagingHyperion OpticsLASEROPTIK GmbHSPECTROGON ABCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.
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