Meeting the ongoing migration towards autonomous driving, Toshiba has introduced a high-resolution, long-range light-receiving technology for solid-state LiDAR systems. By eliminating the requirement for bulky mechanical components, the technology achieves cost and space savings and improves operational reliability. At its heart is the company’s proprietary compact, high-efficiency silicon photo-multiplier (SiPM).
In general, SiPM is ideal for long-range measurement as they are extremely light-sensitive. Nonetheless, the light-receiving cells composed on SiPM need recovery time after being triggered, and in strong ambient light condition, they also require a large number of cells, since they must possess reserve cells to react to reflected laser light.
The company's SiPM applies a transistor circuit that reboots the cells to decrease the recovery time. The cells function more efficiently, and less are required, achieving a smaller SiPM.
The company’s LiDAR system can simply be built with commercial lenses, which excludes complex customisation and enables it to be implemented in a broad variety of self-driving vehicles. The technology’s inherent compactness enables placement in multiple locations on vehicles that had beforehand presented a major challenge; and it will also broaden LiDAR applications outside of the automotive sector.