Lumotive and Himax Technologies introduce new LiDAR technology
Lumotive and Himax Display, a subsidiary of Himax Technologies, announced a jointly developed solution to enable beam steering technology in LiDAR systems that marries Himax’s liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCOS) technology with Lumotive’s liquid crystal metasurfaces (LCMs) to improve the performance, reliability, and cost of LiDAR systems. Lumotive’s LiDAR solution is meant to enable both advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and fully autonomous vehicles such as robo-taxis and self-driving trucks.
LiDAR requires advanced beam steering to deliver high performance and commercial viability. Traditionally, LiDAR relied on bulky spinning assemblies, while newer breeds of LiDAR sensors use MEMS mirrors or optical phased arrays. However, both of these approaches lack performance due to the small optical aperture of MEMS mirrors and the low efficiency of phased arrays. Lumotive leverages Himax’s tailor-made LCOS process to convert semiconductor chips into displays that steer laser pulses based on the light-bending principles of metamaterials.
“Himax’s industry-leading LCOS technology and in-depth LC know-how perfectly complement our LCM technology,” said Lumotive Co-Founder and CEO, Dr. William Colleran. “Our combined approach is an innovative technological advance that lowers cost, improves performance, and ultimately speeds time-to-market for reliable LiDAR systems that make self-driving cars viable and safe.”
“We are very excited to be working with Lumotive to deliver a true breakthrough in the development of LiDAR systems for the autonomous vehicle market,” said Jordan Wu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Himax Technologies. “While the approach is unique, our industry-leading LCOS technology and tailor-made service are market-proven and, when combined with Lumotive’s patented LCM technology, represent a significant advance in an increasingly important industry.”
Lumotive’s LCM chips contain no moving parts and are fabricated using mature semiconductor manufacturing processes and Himax’s tailor-made LCOS technology to enable commercially viable LiDAR systems with low cost, high reliability, and small size. In addition to cost and performance advantages, Lumotive LCMs can be integrated into small form-factor systems. Lumotive says its LiDAR systems offer performance advantages, including a combination of large optical aperture (25 x 25 mm), which delivers long range; 120-degree field-of-view with high angular resolution; and fast, random-access beam steering.