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We enable safe and smarter urban transportation with laser imaging of surroundings, avoiding collisions with pedestrians and enabling autonomous navigation. Our single chip implementation delivers

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - F3D-Fastsight-PoC (We enable safe and smarter urban transportation with laser imaging of surroundings, avoiding collisions with pedestrians and enabling autonomous navigation. Our single chip implementation delivers)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2018-10-31

The high-level goal of FASTSIGHT project is to develop a low cost automotive driving safety sensor to reduce the million annual collisions per year injuring pedestrian and cyclists in in city environments.

The problem : each year, 127 000 people are killed due to road traffic injuries in European region (53 countries)and millions suffer injuries including permanently disabilities. The economic loss is about 2% of GDP and healthcare reimbursements exceed € 1.2 B (EU 27). 75% of such accidents occur in urban environments and 47% in low lighting. Such accidents and could be avoided with sub-second detection and emergency steering/breaking. We also investigated applications to industrial autonomous vehicles and robot interacting with human workers.

“Fastsight” technology is a breakthrough in “flash” laser imaging and ranging (LiDAR). Although systems using laser beam scanning have been used for decades in industry, we are now able to capture an entire scene in one millisecond, like conventional photography but measuring the distance and speed on every pixel. This is now possible with pixels sensitive to lowest light levels using single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs). Implementation on low cost digital semiconductors enables on-chip movement detection within the last meters before a collision and triggering emergency breaking and steering towards free space. We aim at improving current advanced driving assistance systems optimized for long range highway safety and cruise control. Even the most advanced suffer from false positive and negative detection, due to low latency computer algorithms for scene analysis.
Market validation resulted from 20 in-depth workshops involving automotive Tier I-II, OEMs, autonomous guided vehicles, industrial robotics manufacturers. We are in the right position to address future city driving applications by overcoming limits of current highway driving assistance systems in this segment. We simplified presentation of a complex technology, improved prototype demonstration, performed use cases feasibility studies, defined several joint development projects. The recognized advantages will the focus of the product :

• Speed : fast detection for emergency short range city traffic collision avoidance,
• Safety : operating under adverse interference and minimizing false detection,
• “Smart” on-chip risk assessment with limits such as distance, speed, lateral motion

Three industrial partnerships for product development were started and will be executed in 2019. We developed so far 8 prototypes with support from 3 semiconductors foundries and two laser suppliers. This validates that volume manufacturing is ready for million units. Our team was expanded to 13 FTE to deliver NRE based on our know-how protected by 16 patents.
Flash LiDAR is based on direct time of flight physics requiring picosecond detection timing combined with efficient statistical processing. We have demonstrated and emulated the world’s first system-on-chip (SoC) controlling lasers, photo-detector arrays with digital processing. We proved full frame detection within 10 milliseconds at 40 meter range and eye-safe operation within adverse lighting interference at two workshops with over 100 experts.

Selected partners tested a hardware development kit (HDK) with emulation of on-chip digital processing. We demonstrated thresholds on distance and real-time quality assessment to provide actionable detection without false positive / negative. Three European industry leaders started joint product development and three manufacturing partners were found .The industrialization plan aims at field trials with engineering samples within 18 months and delivering several million units within 5 years.

Fastsight Flash LiDAR module specifications :
Range Z=1m to 40m
Field of view : (HxV) 30°x20°
Resolution (ZxHxV) : 1 cm x 0.25°x 0.20°
Low latency : <10ms, <2m driving distance
Real-time quality control : % confidence, false positive/negative detection .
Pre-processing : 3D motion (distance + speed + angular motion + threshold indication).
Illumination : 850 to 940nm near infrared, 1-10 MHz repetition rate
Sensor arrays : 6 x 60, 30 x 60 up to 20'000 pixels
Bill of material : < 80€

We acknowledge past support of European Commission R&D grants (SPADNET, MEGAFRAME) that resulted in the scientific basis we are now applying. As one of the few European projects addressing automotive LiDARs, R&D support is crucial to allow competing in a strategic automotive and semiconductor market segment dominated by North-American and Asian players. We therefore acknowledge support of the European Commission Horizon 2020 SME instrument Phase I and intend to apply for further support of our planned development and field trials with two European Tier 1 next year.

Video :
Flash LiDAR development kit
Automotive Flash LiDAR concept