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Analog Devices and First Sensor are jointly developing LIDAR products to fast usher in the autonomous driving era

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Analog Devices (ADI) is working with First Sensor to develop products aimed at speeding the launch of autonomous sensing technology serving unmanned automotive, aerial and underwater vehicles in transportation, smart agriculture, industrial manufacturing and other industries.

Initially, the two companies plan to shrink the LIDAR signal chain to enable higher system performance as well as reduce size, weight, power and cost for manufacturers designing sensing and perception technology into their autonomous safety systems. The companies also plan to develop other LIDAR products that will serve automotive and industrial manufacturing applications.

“The first step in our working together is to optimise ADI’s industry leading transimpedance amplifiers (TIAs) with First Sensor’s avalanche photodiodes (APDs) so we can offer our customers more powerful and efficient LIDAR solutions, and better support the mass commercial launch of LIDAR systems into the autonomous transportation market,” said Stewart Sellars, general manager, LIDAR, Analog Devices.

For more than 25 years, Analog Devices has been developing sensor technology for transportation safety. Recent developments include multi-channel TIAs specifically designed to convert wide dynamic range photocurrent into a low-impedance voltage signal. First Sensor also has more than 25 years of experience manufacturing LIDAR APDs, which are highly sensitive detector arrays that convert light into photocurrent.

Optimising the interconnection between the APDs and TIAs is critical as it significantly influences the noise floor and bandwidth achieved. Improvements in these two parameters directly translate to LIDAR systems which can detect objects at longer range and with higher precision.

“The market for LIDAR systems is maturing with customers expecting a renewed focus on implementing economically and technically compatible solutions,” said Dr. Dirk Rothweiler, CEO of First Sensor. “Adapting APDs and TIAs to each other is a logical next step in this evolution. By expanding our cooperation with Analog Devices, our customers will benefit from better LIDAR receiver performance.”

LIDAR is a growth driver for First Sensor. The company is preparing for the requirements of volume production with forward integration and an accelerated cost roadmap in line with its strategy for profitable growth.

First Sensor and Analog Devices will each offer a common evaluation board with which system manufacturers can test the combined solution.

This cooperation with First Sensor marks Analog Devices’s next phase in implementing its Drive360 autonomous driving solutions strategy. ADI’s Drive360 suite of technologies leverage ADI’s core competencies in high performance MEMS, RF/mmWave, and photonics/optics technologies, allowing ADI to provide the automotive industry with holistic solutions and be a dedicated partner for highly automated and autonomous driving technology needs.

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