Quanergy Announces Phased Array Robot Vision

As reported by Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum, Quanergy, an automotive robotics startup, announced on Januay 7 its new S3 solid-state LIDAR system. This could be a revolution. S3 will bring affordable, safe and comprehensive environmental sensing to autonomous cars and a wide range of aerial, ground and maritime robots. With no moving parts, S3 has a projected retail price of just $250. It is all solid state, including the “electronic lens” – an optical phased array – that enables extremely accurate sensing of distances. S3 can emit laser pulses up to a million times every second. S3 computes the topography of the surrounding environment by measuring the timing of laser reflections.

Because pulses can be selectively transmitted in any direction at microsecond intervals, there is huge potential for highly selective sensing of specifically targeted objects. Frame rates are software controlled, and the S3 has 120-degree vertical and horizontal fields of view. Depth of view (analogous to depth of focus) ranges from 10 centimeters to 150 meters -- with 8% reflectivity at 100 meters. At 100 meters, S3 projects a 9cm spot and distance accuracy is +/- 5cm. With this new technology, the robots will be watching us as never before. More