#21 - LiDAR Everywhere!

Is it me or is everyone in technology talking about LiDAR these days? So what is it and why is everyone talking about it? Well, the “what” part is easy. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, which basically says it’s similar to Radar, but instead of detecting “something”, imagine the signal that’s sent back to your LiDAR device as a full area scan – an image of an object.

This type of technology is very powerful as it can be used for many types of image scans or as its known in LiDAR land, a survey. Have you ever been caught speeding by a police officer pointing a radar gun at you? LiDAR is similar to the way that the officer is measuring the speed  you are traveling at. But the radar gun has no method to determine if you are driving a sedan, a motorcycle, etc. With LiDAR, the sensor that is surveying the area can detect other vehicles near you and can also determine if its a human or dog crossing into oncoming traffic.

There are so many technologies where LiDAR can be utilized. In this blog, I will talk about autonomous vehicles and mapping.

Autonomous Vehicles

In and around my neighborhood (Chandler, Arizona), there is a fleet of autonomous vehicles driving the streets all the time! Early mornings, late evenings, you get the point. My understanding is, the fleet is capturing data and going through its alpha and beta testing. Thousands of hours are being put to the test in residential areas and busy intersections, hoping to prove out the “bugs” of LiDAR algorithms.

Its always interesting for me to see these vehicles because as a supplier of high accuracy bonders, Finetech is involved in the development of these exciting new technologies. Whether its one of the four sensors on each corner of the vehicle or the spinning sensor on the top of the vehicle, the goal is to achieve a lower accident to passenger ratio. Because according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 13 out of 100,000 people will have a fatal accident. Those numbers are frightening. Not only that, but just imagine if autonomous vehicles really can cut down on accidents in general. Imagine the savings all of us will see when it comes auto insurance.

Mobile LiDAR (Mapping)

Not only do we want our automobiles to be safer, LiDAR has and will continue to play big roles in Mapping, commonly known as Mobile LiDAR. Whether this is mapping traffic or geographic areas (bridges, water, etc), or whether the mapping is done by plane or drone, the data collected will help scientists understand our planet and help city managers better control traffic flow during peak times. The term “Mobile LiDAR” is purely based on the fact that the mapping is collected from a mobile vehicle. Just to clarify, not the same as an autonomous vehicle.

 This crazy world we live in is ever changing. I remember watching the Jetsons cartoon as a little boy – with the outlandish flying cars. So here we are today with self -driving cars. Flying cars next? We could be getting much closer.

Let us know if you want to partner with Finetech for your LiDAR assembly and other die bonding needs. We are experts when it comes to die bonding, whether it’s an Edge Emitting Laser, VCSEL, Fiber Coupled device, or maybe an Optical Phase Array (OPA), we have the process covered. Thermocompression bonding? UV Cure? Sure, no problem - from manual to fully automated, always done with the highest precision and reproducibility.

From Prototype to Production. That’s our motto and we are sticking to it!


Keywords: LiDAR assembly, VCSEL bonding, Optical Phase Array, Edge Emitting Laser, LiDAR sensing

Author: Robert Avila