TOSHIBA announced a flash LiDAR prototype on ISSCC 2020. It is a solid-state LiDAR system having a high-resolution, long-range light-receiving technology. It is a power pack of Toshiba’s proprietary compact high-efficiency silicon photo-multiplier(SIPM).
It was designed by removing bulky mechanical parts that enhance the operation reliability and cost, space-efficient. As it contains high light sensitivity SiPM is very much can be suitable for long-range measurement.
SiPM is suitable for long-range measurement as they are highly light-sensitive. The light-receiving cells composed on SiPM, however, need recovery time after firing, and they also need a large number of cells in good ambient light condition, because they must have reserve cells to respond to reflected laser light.
Since it must reserve cells to react to reflect laser light, it needs a large number of cells at the strong ambient light condition it requires recovery time after being triggered to such conditions.
To reduce the recovery time Toshiba’s SiPM applies a transistor circuit that reboots the cells. The light-receiving cells are less needed as they are more efficient than a conventional one.
The conventional LiDAR system requires mechanical components to rotate continuously the laser emitters. Instead of these moving components, solid-state LiDAR secures a lot of operational advantages. This is made possible by the invention of Toshiba’s SiPM.
The use of commercially available lenses from wide-angle lenses to telephoto lenses, field trials have demonstrated the efficiency is over a maximum distance of 200m. This effectiveness makes this solid-state LiDAR 4 times the current LiDAR efficiency.
LiDAR system from Toshiba can be easily installed with commercial lenses, removing complex configuration and allowing it to be implemented in a wide range of self-driving vehicles.
Toshiba will continue R&D to further extend LiDAR measuring range, raise resolution and advance miniaturization, with the target of practical use of the SiPM in FY2022.