MIT and DARPA pack lidar sensor onto single chip

MIT’s Photonic Microsystems Group is developing a lidar-on-a-chip system that has no moving parts and could be mass produced at a very low cost.


Aug 9th, 2016
We believe that commercial lidar-on-a-chip solutions will be available in a few years. A low-cost, low-profile lidar system such as this has many applications in autonomous vehicles and robotics. It would allow for multiple inexpensive lidar modules to be placed around a car or robot. These on-chip lidar systems could even be placed in the fingers of a robot to see what it is grasping because of their high resolution, small form factor, and low cost. These developments have the potential to dramatically alter the landscape of lidar systems by changing how the devices operate and opening up the technology to numerous new applications, some of which have not even been thought of today.

From a guest blog post on IEEE Spectrum.

The Laser Focus World take:

Lidar is a very hot topic in photonics. The quest for lidar-on-a-chip has been ongoing, notably by institutions such as MIT, Caltech, and UC Santa Barbara, and under DARPA's Electronic-Photonic Heterogeneous Integration (E-PHI) program. We surveyed all of this work in a recent article by senior editor Gail Overton: LIDAR nears ubiquity as miniature systems proliferate.

Conard Holton
Editor in Chief
Laser Focus World
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