Coherent laser ranging and detection (FMCW LiDAR) is a technology that promises to revolutionize the application field of long range high-precision 3-dimensional imaging. It is expected to be a key enabler for high-speed and high-resolution object detection and classification that is necessary for autonomous cars, trucks, trains and unmanned aerial vehicles. It overcomes challenges of commercially available time-of-flight LiDARs, cameras and radar systems, and provides excellent distance and angular resolution with quantum noise limited readout and inherent immunity to sunlight glare and cross-sensor interference. It is particularly suited for long range and high speed applications because continuous-wave operation of the laser reduces optical peak power and ensures eye-safety. However, FMCW LIDAR faces major issues that prevented its successful commercialization hitherto: it requires lasers that are efficient, compact, frequency-agile, low noise, highly coherent, and above all can be scanned in a very precise fashion. Today, no compact, mass-manufacturable coherent long range LiDAR laser module exists.
The FRESCO project aims to address this bottleneck by commercializing recently developed chip-scale single-frequency FMCW LiDAR module based on a 1550 nm semiconductor laser diodes and a photonic Si3N4 microring resonator with integrated piezoelectrical actuator. The new technology allows unprecedentedly fast tuning and high chirp nonlinearity while maintaining small compact module size, which are critical for technology competitiveness in large and demanding LIDAR market.
Hence the FRESCO project addresses the challenge to provide next-generation sensor modules for the autonomous future of personal mobility and transport in a variety of platforms.
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