Toshiba Announces 200m-range Flash LiDAR Prototype

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Toshiba announces a high-resolution, long-range technology for flash LiDAR, probably the next version of one presented at ISSCC 2020. At its heart is Toshiba’s compact, high-efficiency silicon photo-multiplier (SiPM).

In general, SiPM are suitable for long-range measurement as they are highly light sensitive. However, the light-receiving cells composed on SiPM require recovery time after being triggered, and in strong ambient light condition they also need a large number of cells, since they must have reserve cells to react to reflected laser light.

Toshiba’s SiPM applies a transistor circuit that reboots the cells to reduce the recovery time. The cells function more efficiently and fewer are needed, securing a smaller SiPM, as shown in Figure 1. This realizes a higher-resolution SiPM array while maintaining high sensitivity, as shown in Figures 2 and 3.

Field trials with a LiDAR prototype, shown in Figure 4, using commercially available lenses, from wide-angle to telephoto lenses, have demonstrated the system’s effectiveness over a maximum distance of 200m (Figure 5).

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