Exterior sensing for ADAS/AD
Whether for today’s advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS) or increasing levels of autonomous driving (AD), ams OSRAM offers a choice of innovative technologies for example for LiDAR (VCSEL and EEL) or night vision systems (IR emitters).
Innovating in exterior sensing for advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD)
Exterior sensing, notably LiDAR, enables ADAS and ultimately AD. The most accepted way to classify vehicles on their level of autonomy is by the definitions of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). At SAE Level 3 and above, the vehicle takes over responsibility from the driver and assistance turns into autonomy. This means the vehicle should be able to perform its task without human supervision and intervention. This requires a step function in required system performance. Where Level 1 and Level 2 vehicles assist the driver and typically rely on camera or radar, or a combination, there are shortcomings in these technologies for 3D object detection. LiDAR technology addresses this, and there is wide consensus in the industry that from Level 3 onwards, LiDAR is needed for 3D object detection.
When 3D LIDAR is combined or fused with camera and radar, a high-resolution map of the vehicle’s surroundings can be constructed and allow the vehicle to safely fulfil its mission. The automotive industry started with more straightforward driver-assist use cases used in Level 1 and Level 2. As sensors and data processing gets more advanced, more difficult use cases can be covered, such as highway pilot or city pilot.
Ultimately, when every conceivable use case can be fulfilled by the system we define this as a Level 5 vehicle – fully autonomous and the holy grail of autonomous driving. This is expected to still be several years out from today. Moreover, there will be huge pressure to bring down cost and rationalize content per vehicle – to make autonomous driving available to the mass market.
There are two types of night vision systems for cars on the market. On the one hand passive systems use thermal cameras that detect the heat radiation off warm objects – which could be animals or people. On the other hand, active systems use active infrared emitters to illuminate the scene at night. Both active and passive night vision systems rely on the infrared light spectrum that is invisible to the naked eye.
ams OSRAM offering
No matter if LiDAR systems are realized by VCSEL or infrared lasers, we strive to fulfill and advance our role at the forefront of LiDAR technology. By constantly expanding our LiDAR portfolio we always focus on research – with the ultimate goal to create the best solutions.
On the VCSEL side, our latest product developments include a 10 W VCSEL chip that helps our customers in the 3D sensor industry to achieve higher performance and better efficiency.
Thanks to the newly developed chip design, edge-emitting lasers (EEL) can match and even exceed the wavelength stability of VCSELs at operating temperatures of up to 125°C typical for automotive applications. This technological milestone in the development of infrared lasers allows the use of a much smaller wavelength filter on the detector – which significantly improves the signal-to-noise ratio. This technological advance has already been demonstrated in components with ‘triple-junctions,’ i.e. three light-emitting surfaces stacked one on top of the other. In future, it will be used in all ams OSRAM infrared lasers and offer enormous advantages to LiDAR system manufacturers.