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FMCW and TOF Flash Automotive Lidar: Challenges and Prospects

Jan 12, 2022
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Hamamatsu Corporation
Liquid Instruments
A vision of self-driving cars propels research and development for automotive lidar, vital hardware providing distance and velocity information about car surroundings. Among several lidar concepts—with some already adopted and heading toward production for automotive advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and industrial markets—two newer designs have emerged with the highest potential in the future: frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar and time-of-flight (ToF) flash lidar. Both concepts, however, face engineering challenges impeding full adaptation. This presentation reviews operation principles of each technique and then discusses in greater detail the unique challenges each one faces. In particular, a light source with a long and stable coherence length is the primary challenge of FMCW lidar, whereas a photodetector with high photosensitivity and low noise is the challenge for ToF-flash lidar. The presentation concludes with a review of possible solutions to the aforementioned obstacles.

***This presentation premiered during the 2022 Photonics Spectra Conference. For more information on Photonics Media conferences, visit  

About the presenter:
Slawomir S. PiatekSlawomir S. Piatek, Ph.D., has been measuring proper motions of nearby galaxies using images obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope as a senior university lecturer of physics at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has developed a photonics training program for engineers at Hamamatsu Corp. in New Jersey in the role of a science consultant. Also at Hamamatsu, he is involved in popularizing a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) as a novel photodetector by writing and lecturing about it, and by experimenting with the device. He earned a doctorate in physics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in 1994.
Sensors & Detectorslidarautomotive
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