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Sony launches industry’s first multi-layer SPAD scene depth sensor for automotive lidars

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Sony Semiconductor Solutions has announced the IMX459 sensor. According to her, this is the industry’s first multilayer scene depth sensor based on single-photon avalanche diodes (SPAD). It is designed for automotive lidars using the direct time-of-flight (dToF) method.

The manufacturer notes the use of proprietary technologies that have proven themselves in CMOS image sensors, such as pixel back-illumination, multilayer layout and copper internal connections. The multilayer arrangement allowed a 1 / 2.9-inch matrix formed by SPAD square pixels measuring 10.08 x 10.08 µm and a data processing circuit that determines the distances in one miniature case. According to the manufacturer, the compact product provides high accuracy and speed of measurements. The sensor has a resolution of approximately 100,000 effective pixels (597 x 168). The range of the sensor is up to 300 m.The measurement accuracy at a distance of 300 m in the additive mode 3 x 3 pixels is 30 cm, in the additive mode 6 x 6 pixels – 15 cm.

Sony launches industry's first multi-layer SPAD scene depth sensor for automotive lidars

Lidars allow self-driving cars and driver assistance systems to form a three-dimensional picture of the surrounding world, detect and recognize objects with high accuracy, determining their shape and location. The use of semiconductor sensors with SPAD pixels makes it possible to manufacture a compact lidar capable of determining the distance to an object, determining the time of flight of light from the source to the receiver, where it hits, reflecting from the object. By the way, along with the sensor, a reference design of the lidar with mechanical horizontal scanning is presented.

The novelty is packaged in a plastic BGA package measuring 15.65 x 15.35 mm with 152 pins. The company plans to start serial production of sensors in March 2022. The sensor will cost approximately $ 135.

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