Quanergy’s S3 LiDAR detector (Image courtesy of Quanergy Systems, Inc.)
Reliable, high-precision LiDAR systems (that’s Light Detection and Ranging, in case you’ve forgotten) have been the dream of safety-conscious automotive engineers since the inception of driverless vehicles
. Now, California-based photonics specialists at Quanergy Systems, Inc. have developed what could be an optimal solution.
The operating principles of LiDAR systems like the S3 are rather simple. First, a timer runs as an array of laser pulses are emitted from the unit. After reflecting off of objects in space, the pulses travel back toward the unit, where they are picked up by its detectors. The on-board processor then infers the distance of objects in the laser’s path by calculating their time of flight (send time minus return time).
What We Know About the S3’s Technical Capabilities
According to its designers, the S3 LiDAR sensor is capable of generating 500,000 data points per second within a conical 120-degree field of view. These points represent coordinates in 3D space which may be used for object detection, tracking or even classification. Used in conjunction with modern machine vision technologies, the S3 has the potential to endow consumer-grade vehicles with a high degree of spatial awareness. This represents an important advancement for driver assistance systems and, of course, autonomous vehicle technology.
According to Quanergy, the S3’s compact case is small enough to be incorporated into any automotive design, and sufficiently lightweight to make any impacts on performance negligible.
LiDAR at CES
Upon its debut at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, the S3 sensor was awarded the 2017 CES Best of Innovation Award in the category of vehicle intelligence. During the show, Quanergy also announced partnerships with Sensata Technologies, Inc., as well as manufacturer Flex ltd.
While details regarding the manufacturing timeline are sparse, Quanergy developers have stated their intention to begin production of the S3 sensor in 2017.
For more information, visit Quanergy’s website.