LiDAR or light imaging detection and ranging is an integral part of almost all driving assistance systems (other than one main exception, Tesla).
Systems such as emergency braking and lane assist in semi-autonomous or autonomous vehicles employ LiDAR to calculate distances.
A LiDAR system gives off very short laser light pulses. When a laser pulse hits an object or person, the light is then reflected back and captured by a detector. The very short time that it takes for the light to hit the object or person and get reflected back is used to calculate the distance to that object.
A driver assistance or self-driving safety system can then decide whether, for example, the vehicle should brake, reduce speed, or drive around the person or object.
More Powerful and Efficient Pulsed Laser Diode
Osram Opto Semiconductors has launched its new SPL DS90A_3 laser pulsed laser diode, which the company says provides a more powerful and more efficient pulsed laser diode for LiDAR systems. The edge-emitting, infrared laser beam scans the vicinity of the car across a particular angle segment.
Combined the scans create a high-resolution 3D map of the environment. This 3D map reportedly enables the technology to quickly react to any traffic situation. The company gives the example of a car traveling at a speed of 50 miles an hour. At this velocity, a car can cover about 22 meters every second. So, every extra second that drivers take to react can result in serious consequences for the drivers and other road users.
The SPL DS90A_3 can operate at high currents up to 40 A, and it can reach a typical output power of 125 W. The laser is qualified for use in automotive applications and boasts long life and high efficiency. Also, the laser diode’s compact form factor allows for flexible system design within the vehicle.
“With this new laser we have succeeded in taking one of the key technologies for autonomous driving another step forward. Thanks to the higher output, the LiDAR system can reliably detect even small and poorly reflecting objects at big distances and take the necessary action in critical driving situations,” said Andreas Bauer, marketing manager for Lasers at Osram Opto Semiconductors.