How LiDAR Provides Higher Sensor Accuracy

At present, there are many ranging technologies in technological applications, including infrared, ultrasonic, laser, and other technologies. Among them, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which uses lasers for ranging, can provide higher sensor accuracy, and has thus become the first choice for many ranging applications, such as autonomous vehicles, sports competitions, marketing activities, and so on. This article will show you the technological developments of LiDAR and the functional features of the demo board launched by Arrow Electronics.

Omni-directional blind spot-free detection technology

The so-called LiDAR is a combination of optical, laser scanning, and data processing technologies, and is an omni-directional people and objects detection technology without blind spots. In the past, only optics (such as cameras) were used for people and objects detection in the environment. However, due to the poor accuracy of sensors, many unwanted false alarms were caused. Combined with laser scanning, the sensing accuracy can be effectively improved. If combined with 3D laser scanning technology, the location, distance, size, shape, and other information of the object can be accurately detected, greatly improving the sensing accuracy.

LiDAR will emit laser lights to search the area where the object is located and measure the distance where the object is located. The distance is measured using the Time of Flight (ToF) technology. ToF refers to the time it takes for the projected laser to touch the object and reflect back to the sensor. Through the minute time differences required for laser reflection, 3D images can be obtained for real-time measurement.


Real-time detection function is the perfect choice for autonomous vehicles

3D LiDAR may not only distinguish shapes from objects, but also detect the movement of objects, which means that data of persons or vehicles moving on the road can be acquired, the space between a plurality of persons and their walking speed can even be measured through real-time detection, and the behavior patterns of pedestrians and vehicles can be determined from the accumulated behavior data, thereby predicting possible sudden actions or detecting suspicious activities.

Another feature of 3D measurement is the ability to view data in the 3D environment from the front, bird's eye view, and any other angle. Therefore, besides the data about moving persons and vehicles from various angles, information feedback from such geographical features and building structures can also be obtained.

This real-time detection function is the perfect choice for the development of autonomous vehicles, which must be able to detect their own positions and other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles nearby. 3D LiDAR linked with a gyro sensor (for stability) and GPS (for position data) may obtain highly detailed 3D real-time data and detect pedestrians and vehicles in order to ensure safety and create a high-precision map for automatic driving, and also distinguish the difference between road marking and asphalt pavement.


Behavioral analysis of sports/marketing/construction sites through data

In addition to auto-driving, 3D LiDAR is expected to be widely applied to the analysis of usage behavior in the fields of security, marketing, and sports in the future. For example, in respect to security applications, the system may rely on the size and behavior analysis data of the detecting object to distinguish the difference between human and animal, so as to establish a higher precision security system. In respect to marketing, 3D LiDAR may be used to monitor shelves in stores to identify popular products and carry out real-time inventory control and marketing activities.

In respect to sports, for example, by using multiple 3D LiDARs on a soccer stadium at the same time, the position of athletes on a wide field may be tracked in real time. By collecting detailed data on the running speed and distance of each athlete and creating a trajectory map of their movement area, more effective sports competition strategies may be developed.

In addition, 3D LiDAR may also be used in transportation/construction for 3D shape measurement, with which a large area can be monitored at one time, as well as the security of civil engineering or construction sites. In large transportation warehouses and civil engineering sites, goods and materials are always moving. Through shape measurement, dangerous goods can be identified and theft can be prevented. In civil engineering and construction sites, it may also be used to track progress, and predict dangers or matters that need to be checked in advance.


LiDAR demo board helps accelerated development for customers

In order to help customers speed up the development of LiDAR, Arrow Electronics has launched a LiDAR demo board, which can be used for evaluation and reference by customers. This single-channel LiDAR demo board may be used to demonstrate a high-speed optical front end with LiDAR ToF ranging technology, with a measurement distance of up to 50m, and the LiDAR ToF architecture may extend its application to consumer and industrial sectors, and even automotive.

This single-channel LiDAR demo board is simple to operate and easy to help customers with further development based on LiDAR ToF technology. LiDAR can be switched quickly for longer operating distance with lower power consumption.

This LiDAR sensing system for ToF distance measurement consists of a 75W laser diode with 905nm invisible light, and a high sensitivity photomultiplier, as well as a high bandwidth and low delay optical front-end system, which can support long-distance measurement and provide accurate ToF timing measurement through a Time-to-Digital Converter (TDC), which is then converted into distance information. Through a fast eGaN FET transistor and gate driver control, short pulses (<15 nanoseconds) on the laser diode can provide good laser optical power output with reduced input power, saving power under the same laser diode power, and all systems being powered by a single supply.


Using the core chips of the moment’s choice





The single-channel LiDAR demo board from Arrow Electronics uses many core chips of the moment’s choice, including ADI's ADCMP600 high speed comparator, RF 4GHz HMC589A MMIC amplifier, LT8330 DC/DC boost converter and 200mA LT3082C low dropout regulator, as well as ROHM’s 75W RLD90QZW3 laser diode, EPC’s EPC2212 100V eGaN FET, ON Semiconductor’s RD series silicon photomultipliers SiPM, Ti’s LMG1020 GaN FET ultra-fast gate driver and TDC7201 time-to-digital converter, NXP’s 32-bit ARM Cortex M4 LPC54606 microcontroller, Recom Power’s RAC05-05SK AC/DC converter, and Murata’s WMRAG32K76CS1C00R0 MEMS resonator and LQH3NPZ_GR series wire-wound ferrite core power inductor.

This single-channel LiDAR demo board may be applied to distance measurement, speed measurement, safety/proximity sensing, building information model, car parking assistance system, machine vision, security systems, etc, having a wide range of applications.


LiDAR accuracy for distance measurements

LiDAR has a highly accurate distance measurement capability, making it the best choice for high-precision distance measurement applications, with increasingly diverse applications and surging market demands. The single-channel LiDAR demo board launched by Arrow Electronics will speed up the development of related products of manufacturers, which is worthy of reference by manufacturers interested in entering the LiDAR application market.


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