UK-based air transport vehicle firm VRCO reported that it will exclusively use Quanergy’s S3 solid state LiDAR sensors in the testing and market release versions of the VTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) craft, the NeoXcraft XP2.
Quanergy Systems, Inc. of Sunnyvale, California USA, a developer of solid-state LiDAR sensors and smart sensing solutions will supply its LiDAR sensors for the new craft.
The NeoXcraft XP2, which VRCO and the University of Derby unveiled in late 2017 and plan to launch in 2020, is a two-passenger e-VTOL high-speed land, air, and water transport vehicle. With Quannergy’s Lidar sensors, the craft’s smart navigation system can scan and memorize take-off locations and store the data for use on the next approach to the same location. VRCO will use Quanergy’s S3 solid state LiDAR sensor for downward and forward scanning, giving the NeoXcraft the ability to detect, sense, and avoid objects upon takeoff, approach, and landing.
“VRCO is pleased with the support from Quanergy, and the use of the S3 LiDAR sensor provides a new level of enhanced safety for the NeoXcraft,” said Michael Smith, Chairman of VRCO. “Moving forward, all NeoXcraft will feature the S3 sensors as standard.”
Quanergy says that the S3 is the first and only compact, low-cost, automotive-grade solid state LiDAR sensor, and it boasts the highest level of reliability and performance. Unlike its mechanical counterparts, the S3 uses optical phased array technology that enables real-time scanning and situational analysis without any moving parts. VRCO says the use of this specialized technology will further enhance the safety of the NeoXcraft during take-off and particularly upon landing when high precision is demanded.
S3 LiDAR Sensor System Uses No Moving Parts
The S3 design uses no moving parts for reliable 3D sensing. Through the interaction of three primary components, the S3 generates half a million data points per second. Lasers emit collimated light pulses in a 120° arc. Then light receivers detect the reflected light pulses, and signal processors calculate the Time-of-Flight (TOF) of each light pulse. With the ability to scan in every direction, the S3 unit produces a live 3D view around a vehicle.
“As the autonomous vehicle industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that all types of vehicles be equipped with technology that will give them the necessary level of awareness to keep passengers safe whether they are on the road or in the air,” said Dr. Louay Eldada, CEO and co-founder of Quanergy. “Our S3 solid state LiDAR sensor will give the NeoXcraft the ability to accurately sense and perceive its surroundings while seamlessly integrating into the design of the craft.”
In addition to its 3D-sensing capabilities, the compact design of the S3 allows the sensor to be concealed in the body of the NeoXcraft. This concealment lets the S3 perform real-time 3D mapping and object detection, tracking, and classification, without compromising the sleek design of the craft.