SiLC Pushes the Boundaries of LIDAR

can be reached at marcusamick@aol.com
can be reached at marcusamick@aol.com
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SiLC Technologies has been touting its 4D+ Vision chip as the ideal solution for developing more effective LiDAR systems for autonomous vehicles, since first introducing the tech in 2018. But after getting a better sense of the 4D+ Vision chip at CES 2020 in an actual application with Varroc Lighting Systems, it’s easier to see how the company’s vision could help drive the future of AVs.

  • SiLC demonstrated the application of its 4D+ Vision chip in an automotive headlamp in partnership with Varroc Lighting Systems.
  • The SiLC single chip LiDAR sensor system is said to simplify the assembly and packaging for automotive applications, helping to reduce cost.
  • SiLC’s LIDAR chip architecture can be seamlessly embedded anywhere on a vehicle for optimal vision and safety, say company officials.

The team at SiLC Technologies have been very adamant about their belief that the company’s 4D+ Vision chip can help drive the future of autonomous vehicles.

Since introducing the system in 2018, the Silicon-based startup has been touting their “smart” chip LIDAR architecture as being far more efficient and dependable in helping autonomous vehicles navigate roads more safely.

Company officials contend that, unlike Time of Flight (TOF) technology, SiLC’s FMCW Vision Sensor enables interference free and eye safe operation, utilizing more coherent detection techniques that enable low laser peak power and measurement of instantaneous velocity at the same time.

“The gating factor limiting the broader use of this technique has been the expensive telecom-grade components, such as narrow linewidth lasers and coherent receivers,” explained Mehdi Asghari, CEO of SiLC, in a December, 2018 press release. “This is where we come in. We’re able to integrate all the required functionalities into a single silicon chip, utilizing our mature silicon photonic platform, to offer a compact and cost-effective solution.”

The Varroc Lighting Systems headlamp leverages four of SiLC’s silicon photonics FMCW vision chips providing a full 20 x 80-degree field of view (FOV) per headlamp. (Photo: Varroc Lighting Systems)

A clearer vision

Still, up until a couple of weeks ago, what we knew about SiLC’s 4D+ Vision chip had been relegated to mere conceptual ideas about it potential. But after being provided with a deeper look into the technology, as part of an actual application showcased at CES 2020, the benefits of SiLC’s vision chip in the world of autonomous vehicles are a lot clearer.

At the Las Vegas tech event, held Jan. 7 – 10, SiLC partnered with Varroc Lighting Systems to showcase the seamless LiDAR integration of its smart chip LiDAR technology into a production automotive headlamp made by the vehicle lighting company.

The Varroc Lighting Systems headlamp is based on a production LED design and leverages four of SiLC’s 4D+ silicon vision chips providing a full 20 x 80-degree field of view per headlamp.

Complexity elegantly simplified

Using SiLC’s highly-complex integrated functionalities, the 4D+ Vision chip LIDAR sensor applications enable the headlamps to detect height, width, distance, reflectivity, velocity, and light polarization with unparallel accuracy, explain company officials.

SiLC also demonstrated a 200-plus meter LIDAR scan, showcasing the long range and accuracy of its 4D+ vision chip.
“We believe automotive lamps provide the optimum integration point for sensors at the four corners of the vehicle and at CES 2020 we are providing a glimpse into the future of automotive navigation combined with aesthetic design,” said Todd Morgan, Senior Vice President of Product Development for Varroc Lighting Systems, in an official company press release.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The demonstration of SiLC’s 4D+ Vision chip LIDAR technology in a Varroc Lighting Systems headlamp provides a lot more clarity on the full capabilities of SiLC’s tech and how it can help enhance the safety of autonomous vehicles. It also highlights how companies are continue to push the envelope in the AV space in exciting new ways.


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can be reached at marcusamick@aol.com
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