With a solution for autonomous cars, unprecedented technology takes the generation of infrared lasers to another level.
LiDAR, short for Light Detection and Ranging, is a key technology in the development of autonomous vehicles.
It works as follows: at very short intervals, an infrared laser sends pulses of light into the vehicle’s environment. When light reaches an object, it is reflected and recorded by a sensor.
The system can then calculate the distance from the light to the object and vice versa to initiate the appropriate actions, such as, for example, braking. Therefore, it is an indispensable solution for future mobility.
Depending on the distance of the objects to be identified, there are different degrees of light sources for the LiDAR system, the EEL technology (edge emitting lasers) and the VCSEL (vertical cavity surface emitting laser) and only when the EEL and VCSEL work in a complementary way is that the potential of LiDAR can comprehensively offer all traffic safety.
That’s where another difference comes in: OSRAM is the only player on the market that offers these solutions.
In the combination of radar systems and cameras, the LiDAR system acts as the vision of the car that captures the surroundings through infrared light and creates an accurate three-dimensional map of the environment.
The better this visual information is, the easier it will be for the system to process the image.
But, until now, the infrared lasers used for this purpose had deviations in the stability wavelength of up to 40 nanometers, as the temperature in the component increased and, as a result, the “vision” of the LiDAR system became a little blurred.
However, with the new chip design from OSRAM, the wavelength is now only 10 nanometers, which allows for much more clarity and sharper images of the surroundings.
To give you an idea of the importance of this new generation, thanks to the newly developed chip design, edge-emitting lasers can combine and even exceed the VCSELs’ wavelength stability at operating temperatures up to 125°C, typical for automotive applications.
This technological milestone in the development of infrared lasers allows the use of a much shorter wavelength filter in the detector – which significantly improves the signal-to-noise ratio.
In the future, it will be used in all OSRAM infrared lasers and could offer huge advantages for manufacturers of LiDAR systems.