Startup SiLC Technologies, Inc. has claimed the longest detection range for a vision sensor, demonstrating a range of more than 1 kilometer (km) with its Eyeonic vision sensor. This is double the demonstrated detection range of more than 500 meters at CES earlier this year.
Announced in December 2021, SiLC described the Eyeonic vision sensor as the industry’s first commercially available integrated frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR sensor for machine-vision applications such as mobility, robotics, and security. It integrates all the photonics functions needed for a coherent vision sensor in a small chip, delivering instantaneous velocity and ultra-long-range information, which enables robotics and machines to perceive and classify their environment.
The Eyeonic vision sensor can address ultra-long-range to ultra-short-range applications. It helps robots “classify and predict their environment in the same way that a human eye and brain process together,” said Dr. Mehdi Asghari, SiLC’s CEO and founder, in a statement.
The capability to perceive, identify, and avoid objects at an ultra-long range is a requirement in many industries that use machine vision, said SiLC, including automotive, metrology, construction, and drones. The company cites several use cases such as providing enough time for a car to avoid obstacles ON a highway and controlling deforestation with precision mapping and surveying of forests.
SiLC demonstrates ultra-long-range detection with its Eyeonic Vision Sensor. (Source: SiLC)
The global LiDAR market for automotive and industrial applications is expected to reach $6.3 billion in 2027 with a 22% compound annual growth rate between 2022 – 2027, according to Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group.
(Source: Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group)
SiLC said the FMCW LiDAR is the “optimal technology” for next-generation vision sensors that offer millimeter-level accuracy, depth, and instantaneous velocity, which will enable applications such as autonomous driving and other machine vision applications. The company’s 4D+ Eyeonic chip, which integrates all photonics functions for a coherent vision sensor, also address the issues of cost and power, which has been a constraint in the automotive LiDAR market.
Key benefits of FMCW include higher integration and sensitivity and instant radial velocity, according to Yole.
SiLC has announced several design wins and partnerships over the past few years. These include AutoX, Varroc, and Hokuyo.