The acquisition of depth information via LiDAR sensing is a now a priority for global brands covering a broad range of use cases and this presentation will focus on the rapidly evolving technology developments. Each LiDAR use case has a different set of requirements but every system features the same key functional blocks. Perhaps the most critical of these functional blocks is the sensor, which often requires the capability to detect very low signal returns in the presence of a large amount of ambient light. In particular, we will look at how the single-photon sensitive SiPM and SPAD array photodetectors developed by ON Semiconductor can be used to push the performance boundaries for both long-range and high resolution 3D imaging. Both of these performance drivers have an impact on the system data management: Ranging to the most distant objects results in return signals at the single photon level and so a histogramming technique is used in conjunction with multiple laser cycles per measurement. There is a challenge if all the histogram data needs to be transferred to a central processor for analysis of the 3D scene due to the massive data rates that would be required. To overcome this, sophisticated analysis of the histogram needs to be performed local to the sensor so that a reduced data set of 3D point cloud information can be more easily communicated using protocols such as Ethernet. When considering the high resolution imaging requirements, even more careful consideration of the data management is required, and this will have an impact on the LiDAR architectures possible. ON Semiconductor is now developing a series of high resolution SPAD arrays, the first of which is the 400x100 pixel Pandion product which achieves high-resolution 3D imaging as part of the Pandion LiDAR Demo system. Future sensor and system developments will be discussed along with strategies for dealing with the data management challenges.
Wade Appelman is VP of Marketing and Business Development for the SensL Division of ON Semiconductor, having joined SensL in January 2011. Wade has led the sales and marketing efforts for five venture-backed startups with total exit valuations of $800 million. He launched Sitera (acquired by Vitesse), Zagros (Acquired by Altera), and Lightstorm Networks (Acquired by Broadcom), closing their first customers and most recently was VP of Sales and Marketing for material handling robotic pioneer Harvest Automation. He has a B.S. from Wagner College in New York, NY.