New ultrasonic 3D sensor with MEMS microphone for obstacle detection

24-11-2021 | Toposens | Test & Measurement

Toposens has partnered with Infineon Technology to accomplish 3D obstacle detection and collision avoidance in autonomous systems using Toposens' proprietary 3D ultrasound technology. The sensor manufacturer provides 3D ultrasonic sensors ECHO ONE DK that support sound, machine vision, and advanced algorithms to facilitate a robust, cost-effective and accurate 3D vision for applications, including robotics, autonomous driving and consumer electronics.

The easy-to-integrate 3D ultrasonic sensor allows safe collision avoidance via precise 3D obstacle detection. It is based on Infineon's XENSIV MEMS microphone IM73A135V01. This next-generation reference product enables customers to reduce their development efforts and time-to-market. In addition, it is low cost and energy-efficient compared to existing industrial 3D sensors. The new technology is perfect for improving the performance of AGVs.

"Our XENSIV MEMS microphones enable the detection of sound pulses, so they are a critical component for 3D object localisation via ultrasound," said Dr Roland Helm, vice president and head of Sensor Product Line from Infineon. "They offer a combination of exceptionally low noise and the highest SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) in the industry, resulting in improved reliability of the 3D data. This allows the detection of even the faintest ultrasonic echoes from distant, complex and small objects."

"Making use of Infineon's MEMS microphone, we were able to realise our new ultrasonic 3D sensor with a high overall sensitivity in the ultrasonic frequency spectrum, giving us the best range and widest opening angle," said Tobias Bahnemann, CEO and co-founder of Toposens. "This enables our AGVs, robots or other applications to avoid collisions with all kinds of obstacles, even in the harshest environments, as proven by the IP57 protection rating."

Typically, lighting conditions, reflections and weather affect the performance of existing sensor technologies. These sensors, however, rely on echolocation to produce real-time 3D point clouds. This guides autonomous systems in even the toughest conditions and provides consumer electronics to recognise their surroundings. The ultrasonic echolocation sensor allows 3D multi-object detection, critical for collision avoidance, with low calibration effort and high reliability and robustness. In addition, ultrasonic sensing decreases the high number of false positives and false negatives when using optical sensors and decreases the system's efficiency.

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