DURHAM, N.C. — Sense Photonics Inc. today announced the availability of its Osprey lidar sensor for the advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous vehicles. The company said Osprey is the first modular lidar using its solid-state “flash” architecture.
Sense Photonics said its lidar and 3D sensors are useful for self-driving cars, industrial robotics, material handling, activity monitoring, and many other applications. The company has more than 200 patents for its technology, which it said has no moving parts and “can uniquely meet the rigorous performance, reliability, and cost requirements for automotive and industrial applications.”
Osprey designed to improve near-field sensing
Osprey offers fully solid-state depth sensing, according to Sense Photonics. The lidar sensor features a 75-degree vertical field of view that is also ultra-wide and dense, enabling high-resolution object detection from the street curb to the horizon, said the company.
“Near-field sensing has been a major challenge for the automotive industry, especially in the development of autonomous driving,” stated Scott Burroughs, CEO of Sense Photonics. “We designed Osprey to address key customer concerns, including affordability, reliability, and performance. Customers have been especially excited about our ability to eliminate all of the blind spots around the self-driving vehicle, all the way down to the curb, with unprecedented resolution.”
Osprey is designed as a modular package for easy integration. It combines an automotive-qualified near-field sensor with Sense Illuminator — a proprietary distributed VCSEL (vertical cavity surface-emitting laser) array made up of thousands of individual laser elements.
Designing for manufacturing
Sense Photonics worked with a global design services provider to ensure that manufacturing processes for Osprey would meet both the quality and scalability expectations of the automotive industry.
“Our simple, camera-like architecture is a significant benefit to customers looking for a scalable lidar product,” said Burroughs. “By eliminating mechanical scanning mechanisms, we’ve made Osprey much more manufacturable than other approaches. We believe this is critical to bringing the vision of autonomous driving to life.”
In October 2019, Sense Photonics announced the availability of an industrial solid-state flash lidar system that it claimed raised performance standards across the industry for high-resolution data output.
Sense Photonics partners
Sense Photonics said its automotive partners will use Osprey to test and develop the next generation of autonomous platforms. Its partners include an unannounced Tier 1 automotive supplier, multiple automotive OEMs and major self-driving programs, and German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon.
“Infineon is very excited to be working closely with Sense Photonics as it continues to push the limits in terms of near-field lidar solutions based on our automotive qualified REAL3 time-of-flight imager,” said Christian Herzum, head of the 3D sensing product line at Infineon.
Sense Photonics said it has partnerships with leading automotive and robotics partners, as well as strategic investors. The company, which has offices in Research Triangle Park, N.C.; San Francisco; and Edinburgh, in the U.K., closed a Series A round of fundraising last June.
Osprey is priced at $3,200 and is available now for preorder. Sense Photonics will display its latest products at CES 2020 in Booth 721 in the Smart Cities Hall, Tech East, Westgate Paradise Center.
Editor’s note: Sense Photonics is among the participants in our “Robots for Good” track at CES 2020. See also the “5G and Robotics” panel at the event in Las Vegas this week.
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