LiDAR company SOS Lab will launch its 2D LiDAR sensor called SL-2 aimed at factory automation in October, the company said on Tuesday.
Next year, the company will launch its 3D fully solid-state LiDAR called ML-1 that is mainly aimed at autonomous vehicles.
LiDAR is a core component in advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, used in self-driving cars.
Level 2 autonomous cars can realize ADAS with just cameras, conventional radars and GPS but Level 3 requires LiDAR.
Automobile OEMs are aiming to begin production of Level 3 autonomous vehicles next year, which will be a boon to LiDAR makers.
LiDAR sensors share the same basic principles as radars. The difference is radars uses electric signals but LiDAR uses pulse lasers. LiDAR for automobiles uses lasers with wavelength of 905nm. The lasers shoot straight and doesn’t fluctuate widely, which allows it to collect location information accurately.
SOS Lab specializes in solid-state 2D and 3D LiDARs. It first aimed at industrial and factory automation usages but has recently expanded to automobiles.
The company is adopting the vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) method and solid-sate method for its LiDAR sensors.
VCSEL offers high light efficiency and can expand light sources that is advantageous in reliability. Solid-sate LiDAR, like cameras, are fixed when activating. It has less durability problem compared to scanning LiDARs.
SOS Lab said it has addressable VCSEL design technology, optical design technology in micro and nano pattern design for beam steering and light source packaging technology.
The company clinched a collaboration MOU with ON Semiconductor, the world’s largest image sensor maker for automobiles, in January this year thanks to these technologies.
SOS Lab is supplying the single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) chip to ON Semiconductor.
SOS Lab CTO Junhwan Jang said the company was developing ML-1 based on its collaboration with ON Semiconductor. It aims to supply the sensors to automobiles that will be produced in 2023 or 2024.
The company also clinched a supply deal for its 3D LiDAR, the SL-S, with the Busan Port Authority for the port’s security monitoring system. SOS Lab will begin supplying the sensors within the year.
In July, it supplied its ultra-small LiDAR the GL series to robotics firm Integrit for its Synaptree autonomous robotics platform. The platform combines LiDAR with stereo camera for sensing.
SOS Lab received its seed investment from FuturePlay. It received 6.8 billion won in Series A investment from Mando Leading in 2018. It received 9.8 billion won in Series A Plus funding from the Korean Development Bank in April, 2020.