UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed a LIDAR sensor that collects high frame-rate 3D measurements for autonomous vehicle and robotics applications.
Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is an optical sensor that measures three-dimensional position information, and is for example developing as an essential component of autonomous vehicles. One approach to generating optical images of fast changing dynamical events is photonic time-stretch. Various methods have been proposed to realize time-stretch, including single mode fibers, dispersion compensating fibers, chirped Bragg grating, chromo-modal dispersion (CMD), and grating pairs. However, none of those methods provide a large enough time-bandwidth product needed for LIDAR, which limits the time-depth range that LIDAR can measure.
UCLA researchers have developed a LIDAR sensor that readily captures 3D images of scenes at 100’s of meters with fast scan rate. The technology is also able to achieve spatially warped illumination for foveated imaging where pixels are preferentially concentrated in the region of interest. The innovation is designed to achieve both high resolution and long range necessary for autonomous vehicle and robotic applications. The wavelength band selection is also flexible. Overall, the sensor collects ultrafast inertia-free three-dimensional time-of-flight measurements with a large field-of-view.
Proof-of-concept for two system design approaches has been demonstrated in the laboratory.
Light Detection and Ranging, LIDAR, spectro-temporal imaging, position sensors, autonomous driving, robotics, chirp time-bandwidth product, time stretch, wavelength band