Analog Devices acquires LiDAR tech to enable safer self-driving cars

17 Nov 2016

Analog Devices is making a major foray into self-driving vehicle safety. Image: Karsten Neglia/Shutterstock

In a move to drive the autonomous vehicle future, Analog Devices has acquired solid-state laser beam steering technology from Vescent Photonics.

The technology enables carmakers to put sleeker and more robust LiDAR systems in self-driving vehicles than the current mechanically based ones.

Vescent Photonics is a privately held company that develops tuneable lasers and electronics for precision laser control.

“From inertial MEMS sensors used in airbag and electronic stability control applications to 24 GHz and 77 GHz automotive radar, ADI solutions have helped save lives for over two decades,” said Chris Jacobs, general manager of automotive safety at Analog Devices.

“And now, this innovative technology will play an important role in making LiDAR systems more compact, more robust, and an affordable feature in every new car worldwide.”

Precise safety for self-driving vehicles

These safety systems include forward-collision warning, blind-spot detection, pedestrian detection, and autonomous driving functions.

Cameras are used widely for object recognition while radar uses radio-frequency electromagnetic waves to measure distance.

LiDAR uses laser beams to measure the distance and can also recognise objects. Scanning LiDAR systems can be used to detect objects on or near the roadway, and fill the blind spots known to exist when using radar and cameras.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years