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Lumotive and Himax Technology Set Sights on Autonomous Vehicle Market with High-Performance Lidar

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Lumotive, a startup funded in part by Bill Gates, has announced a collaboration with Himax Technologies Inc. to jointly develop alternative beam steering technology in lidar systems for the autonomous vehicle market. Yole Devéloppement projects that this market will see a compound annual growth of 45% between 2018 and 2024.  

The collaboration aims to marry 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.

Lidar requires advanced beam steering, which in the past has been provided by bulky spinning assemblies. Newer iterations use MEMS mirrors or optical phased arrays, though both approaches lack performance due to the small aperture of MEMS mirrors and the low efficiency of phased arrays. Lumotive and Himax’s partnership intends to use Himax’s LCOS process to convert semiconductor chips into dynamic displays that steer laser pulses based on the light-bending principles of metamaterials.

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Sep 2019
An acronym of light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions. Ladar, an acronym of laser detection and ranging, uses laser light for detection of speed, altitude, direction and range; it is often called laser radar.
Businesscollaborationpartnershipslidarautonomous vehiclesSelf-driving carsliquid crystal metasurfacesbeam steering

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