SiLC targets robot guidance with chip-scale lidar

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Eyeonic vision chip. Credit: SiLC Technologies

Silicon photonics firm SiLC Technologies has launched a lidar vision sensor targeting robotics and machine vision.

SiLC announced a collaboration with Hokuyo Automatic to develop cost-effective 4D lidar solutions for the next generation of industrial and robot applications.

The Eyeonic vision sensor is a chip-scale lidar, in that it integrates all the components - including an ultra-low linewidth laser, a semiconductor optical amplifier, and germanium detectors - into a single silicon chip.

SiLC's silicon photonics platform is based on semiconductor fabrication processes, offering a low-cost, compact, and low-power solution.

SiLC uses frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) technology at 1,550nm wavelength, rather than operating at 905nm. The company says the vision sensor gives millimetre precision at long distances.

Eyeonic also offers dual-polarisation intensity information, and is immune to multi-user and environmental interference.

Hitoshi Ozaki, president at Hokuyo, stated: '4D lidar will provide longer range, higher precision, instantaneous velocity and interference-free operation. SiLC is the first company to integrate all of the laser, detectors and optical processing technology needed to create compact, viable solutions in the market. Our collaboration with SiLC enables us to jointly architect an FMCW lidar solution that extends Hokuyo’s leadership and customer solutions.'

'Industries are eagerly embracing robotic automation strategies,' Mehdi Asghari, CEO of SiLC, added. 'In order for machines to reach their full potential, a highly tuned vision element is needed – and that is where we come in. Enabling machines to see more like humans brings forth infinite possibilities. Collaborating with Hokuyo allows us to bring our FMCW technology to market and jointly advance industrial automation and robotics applications.'

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