Quanergy say their OPA (Optical Phased Array) technology has successfully achieved a range detection of 250 metres—a big increase over the range demonstrated earlier this year, and fully 2.5× the range demonstrated only 15 months ago. The improvement marks significant advances along the path towards commercialisation of their S3 lidar, a true solid-state sensor using an industry-first, scalable CMOS silicon manufacturing process designed for affordable mass-market production.
This test was conducted with a solid-state lidar S3 test platform with a single OPA emitter module. The system represents a complete optical link of the emitter output on the transmission end, the detector sensitivity on the receiver end and the signal processing for range readout. Different from the scanning mode, this ranging mode test has the laser beam shooting at the same direction on a target with 10 per cent reflectivity to simulate difficult-to-detect objects. The target positioned at 250 metres was successfully detected under bright sunlight.
Quanergy say their OPA is the most flexible; robust, and affordable technology specifically designed for advanced mobility applications. With electronic beam steering and no moving parts, OPA-based S-series sensors are ideal for heavy vibration transportation applications such as autonomous trucks; mining; construction, and agriculture since they are designed to provide more than 100,000 hours’ lifespan (MTBF).
Even if the mainstream production of automotive lidars is still represented by macro mechanical scanning solutions such as Valeo’s Scala, it is reasonable to predict that solid state scanning solutions will eventually come to dominate if and when they will demonstrate fully-debugged maturity. Radar sensors also proceeded along this kind of evolutionary path—remember the most accurate scanning solutions of early 2000s were also based on moving parabolic or Cassegrain antennas.