Digital Beam Steering Based LiDAR Sensor for Autonomous vehicles

  • It comes integrated with digital optical switches that can improve the reliability and accuracy of the beam steering
  • It has built-in high-resolution LiDAR that helps to map the objects up to 50 meters
Pic source: Draper

LiDAR,(Light Detection and Ranging) is used as a  primary sensor in autonomous vehicles. It helps in creating high-definition maps of the surrounding environments. 

LiDAR can also be used to create a three-dimensional point cloud of a car’s surroundings. This can be achieved by measuring the average time taken by light to travel from the sensor emitter to the same sensor receiver. However, current LiDAR systems rely on mechanical scanning. These LiDAR sensors relying on mechanical scanning, at times, prove not to be that reliable.

Draper has developed and announced a new LiDAR sensor for self-driving vehicles. It uses digital switches for beam steering. According to the company, this chip is also suitable for harsh environment.

Uses digital beem steering technology


This new chip comes integrated with digital beem steering technology which helps to improve accuracy, and reliability for autonomous vehicles. It also integrates with optical switches, MEMS and photonics on a single chip. These features help to improve the range of the sensor. This chip can help to create a 3D map for vehicle surroundings like other chips but using digital optical switches. The company also states that these digital switches are more accurate and cost-effective than mechanical rely

High resolution with favorable SNR ratio

The chip integrates with high-resolution solid-state LiDAR that can able to map and localise the objects up to 50-meter. According to the company, it has low losses in waveguides of less than one dB/cm. These MEMS optical switches have a lifetime of up to 10 billion cycles. This chip emits the light through a matrix of optical switches and collected through the same optical switches along with ambient light. This results in a favorable signal to noise ratio. It also provides an angular resolution of up to 0.1 degrees.

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