Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Lumotive claims ‘industry-first’ LiDAR using liquid its Crystal Metasurfaces and CMOS manufacturing

Lumotive, a developer of scalable solid-state LiDAR systems, has launched the first two in a series of 3D-sensing products that utilize its innovative Liquid Crystal Metasurfaces (LCMs) manufactured in CMOS semiconductor processes.

The company says the new systems are designed to meet performance, cost and size requirements across a range of industries.

With samples available in the fourth quarter of this year, the Lumotive X20 and Lumotive Z20 LiDAR systems target the automotive and industrial automation markets, respectively.

Lumotive’s M20, addressing needs of the consumer and mobile markets, will be introduced in 2021.

Each of Lumotive’s products leverages the company’s patented solid-state beam-steering technology and scalable platform to meet the specific range, field-of-view, resolution and form-factor needs for their target applications.

Lumotive’s solid-state, silicon beam-steering systems provide unprecedented scalability for consumer, industrial and automotive applications. The company’s X10 prototype at left, alongside a mock-up of Lumotive’s first production LiDAR system, the X20, which will sample later this year.

LCMs enable more compact and reliable LiDAR systems than legacy mechanical spinning approaches, and the new beam-steering technology provides larger aperture for greater range and more efficient implementation compared to MEMS-based systems.

In addition, Lumotive can meet demanding cost constraints in all three market segments by utilizing mature CMOS chip manufacturing processes that deliver high volume at competitive costs.

Dr William Colleran, Lumotive co-founder and CEO, says: “The huge challenge of LiDAR is balancing performance, characterized by range, resolution and frame rate, with commercial viability as measured by size, reliability and cost.

“We’ve been able to achieve new levels in all these areas without significant compromise in any.

“We know that one size doesn’t fit all when deploying 3D sensing in different applications, and our underlying architecture allows us to efficiently scale the technology to meet specific market requirements while maintaining the cost benefits we achieve through our manufacturing approach.”

Sampling in the fourth quarter of 2020, the Lumotive X20 and Z20 build on the company’s X10 prototype of the same architecture.

These LiDAR systems efficiently integrate modules for transmit, receive and beam-steering which may be purchased by automotive tier-1 suppliers and industrial sensor product vendors seeking to enhance their own LiDAR offerings.

The X20 targets long-range automotive applications with range over 120 meters in bright sunlight and a 120° x 30° field of view.

The Z20 will have a shorter range (~ 50 meters) but an expanded 70° vertical field of view to address industrial and short-range automotive needs. Full performance details are available from Lumotive.

Joseph Osha, managing director at JMP Securities, says: “We believe commercially viable LiDAR is required for the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicles and other products.

“Lumotive has a unique combination of deep semiconductor design knowledge, patented technology, and end-market savviness that sets them apart from other providers. We are looking forward to seeing the company’s solutions deployed in key industrial and consumer market segments.”

Market opportunity

Alexis Debray, PhD, is technology and market analyst at Yole Développement, the market research and strategy consulting company.

Debray says: “The LiDAR markets dedicated to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and robotic car applications are showing significant growth between 2019 and 2025, from US$117 million to US$2.3 billion.

“At Yole, we estimate the CAGR will reach almost 64% during this period. We expect strong growth of LiDAR within the transportation segment for both robotic vehicles and ADAS applications.

“In addition, we believe Lumotive’s LiDAR systems will be commercially viable for a number of consumer electronics markets such as mobile devices thanks to its compact size, low power consumption, and potential high resolution.”

Main picture: The Lumotive X20 chip. Lumotive’s 3D-sensing products utilize innovative Liquid Crystal Metasurfaces, innovative chips manufactured in a CMOS semiconductor process.

Leave a Reply