Products on Show
Day 2: High performance, reliable, and low-cost lidar for next-gen ADAS and AVs
Renowned hard drive specialist, Seagate Technology, is in California to demonstrate its recently announced Gen 6 lidar, a high-precision, high-performance 120° FoV lidar designed for next-gen ADAS and autonomous vehicle applications.
David Burks, general manager at Seagate, revealed live at the expo, “Seagate has spent the last 15 years creating a new hard drive technology (heat-assisted magnetic recording), mounting tiny lasers to a hard drive read/write head to increase storage capacity on a hard drive.
“With our background in lasers and photonics, the company has significant synergies in lidar tech for autonomous vehicles and has designed a lidar that uses similar suppliers to a hard drive. We can therefore develop a lidar focused on gaps in the market, a complex and high-volume mechanical device designed for manufacturability, cost and reliability.”
He continued, “if you can’t manufacture efficiently then it is not cost-friendly. Our challenge was [to]design for reliability and cost and withstand the rigors of riding in a car so it has disruptive cost points.
“Lidar works in the dark like radar and under adverse weather conditions, and has better resolution at range, for example with small objects. Different types of lidar have different types of range. Solid-state lidars are very affordable but the biggest challenge for solid-state lidar is range; it is difficult to have long range in solid-state lidar. It is a physics challenge.
“The Seagate mechanical lidar is going to fulfill the need for long-range lidar in the automotive sector,” Burks concluded.
Martin Booth, Seagate lidar business development executive, agreed, “Most OEMs need a 200m range and that’s increasing in the future; range depends on how fast you want to go and how far the braking distance is. Most OEMs want to drive at motorway speeds in Europe and avoid small objects on the road.”
Seagate is also showcasing its Seagate Lyve Mobile storage arrays that, according to Burks, “allow mass amounts of storage in test cars to capture invaluable field data used in training ADAS decision systems.”
According to Booth, the company chose the ADAS & Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo to showcase its products as “the show is focused on a hot topic, ADAS – and Silicon Valley is the right region to do this show. We’ve had a lot of good OEM meetings so far.”