Project Godzilla - The End of Compromise
Building The First Scalable, Affordable High-Performance Automotive LiDAR
Shauna McIntyre | December 21, 2020
Most automotive OEMs regard Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors as an essential enabler for hands-off, Level 3+ automated driving. But when they review quotes for production LiDARs for fleetwide deployment, they too often see compromises where they had hoped to find solutions.
Some LiDAR systems meet automotive specs for resolution and frame rate, yet can’t deliver the requisite range or field-of-view ― at least, not at an affordable cost. Many scanning systems employ complex optics that raise serious concerns about the system’s durability and reliability, a critical consideration for such a safety-critical feature as the vehicle’s vision. No player today, it seems, offers a cost-competitive LiDAR solution that fully meets the needs of the automotive industry: a powerful, data-rich sensor that can be manufactured at scale, is reliable and rugged, and is easily integrated into a vehicle. These limitations have left L3+ level autonomy stagnant.
The transportation industry needs real LiDAR solutions. That is why Sense Photonics launched a singularly ambitious quest our team members nicknamed “Project Godzilla.”
Project Godzilla’s mission is two-fold:
- Build high-resolution flash LiDARs without performance tradeoffs
- Meet all automotive requirements for series production
While other LiDAR suppliers rushed to launch automotive offerings with inherent trade-offs, we have spent the past several years taking a First Principles approach ― designing fit-for-purpose core laser and receiver technology, based on proven semiconductor processes for wafer-scale fabrication. The result? A radically simple and affordable LiDAR architecture that delivers everything automotive OEMs need. Project Godzilla will significantly accelerate OEMs’ ability to offer advanced features such as traffic jam pilot, automatic lane changes, auto park, and automated urban driving.
Practical innovation is the driving force of Project Godzilla. We have crafted a vertically integrated LiDAR architecture centered on our unique (and patented) printed VCSEL laser arrays, which we pair with our revolutionary (and patented) single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) arrays to read out high-resolution depth information, without memory or processing constraints.
These successes have us poised to roll out the first LiDAR solution that meets all the automotive industry’s needs for ADAS and AV, at an affordable cost, and in a conveniently modular package.
We are poised to roll out the first LiDAR solution that meets all the automotive industry’s needs for ADAS and AV, at an affordable cost, and in a conveniently modular package.
Our SPAD array outputs massive data rates. In single return mode, OEMs can expect millions of points per second. To image objects in adverse weather conditions such as fog or rain, the sensor provides 4 returns per pixel, resulting in more than 10 million points per second. (For an industry comparison, refer to this recent Forbes article which lists data rates of today’s LiDAR solutions.) Further, we forecast our mass market volume pricing will be a fraction of that of our leading competitors, radically reducing your LiDAR “cost per points per second.” All this capability will come in an easily-integrated, 100% solid state modular package expressly designed to help the industry scale ADAS/AV development fleets.
Project Godzilla is preparing to dramatically accelerate the pursuit of L3, L4, and L5 autonomy, by delivering a truly scalable, affordable and durable LiDAR solution ― without compromises. The world-class team at Sense Photonics, with labs in San Francisco, Durham and Edinburgh, is resetting the standard when it comes to high-performance LiDAR across all ranges, and we look forward to sharing more in early 2021.
Learn more about the game-changing technologies available from Sense Photonics.
Shauna F. McIntyre
Shauna previously led Google’s automotive services program; prior she served as Chief of Staff for Google Devices, the company’s rapidly growing consumer electronics business combining the best of Google AI, software, and hardware to provide consumers with radically helpful experiences. Shauna started her career at a Ford Motor Company factory, where she instituted lean manufacturing principles.