For robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles to operate safely at speed, they need to be able to see accurately and as far ahead as possible. SiLC Technologies Inc. today said that its Eyeonic Vision Sensor has demonstrated the ability to perceive, identify, and avoid objects at a range of more than 1 km (0.6 mi.).
The Monrovia, Calif.-based company claimed that it is the only one that has optimized its technology to perceive that far. It previously demonstrated a detection range of more than 500 m (1,640.4 ft.) at CES earlier this year.
Silicon photonics industry veterans founded SiLC in 2018. Since then, the company has developed frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar sensors. It said its 4D+ Eyeonic Chip integrates all photonics functions needed to enable a coherent vision sensor, offering a small footprint while addressing the need for low cost and low power.
SiLC targets its innovations at the robotics, autonomous vehicle, biometrics, security, industrial automation, and other markets.
Eyeonic looks ahead for autonomous applications
Ultra-long-range visibility is a requirement or many machine vision applications, including automotive, metrology, construction, drones, and more. SiLC cited scenarios such as providing enough time for a vehicle to evade an obstacle at highway speeds, enabling a drone to avoid others in the sky, and controlling deforestation through precision mapping and surveying of forests.
The company said its FMCW lidar transceiver enables next-generation vision sensors that incorporate millimeter-level accuracy, depth, and instantaneous velocity.
First announced in December of 2021, SiLC’s Eyeonic Vision Sensor is built around its silicon photonic chip which integrates FMCW lidar functionality into a single chip. “Representing decades of silicon photonics innovation,” this chip is the only one ready to integrate for manufacturers building the next generation of autonomous systems, said the company.
“Our technology platform is flexible enough to address ultra-long-range to ultra-short-range applications, which speaks to our understanding of what is needed to truly make machine vision as good as or better than human vision,” said Dr. Mehdi Asghari, founder and CEO of SiLC.
“The highly detailed, accurate instantaneous velocity, and ultra-long-range information that our Eyeonic Vision Sensor provides is the key to helping robots classify and predict their environment – in the same way that the human eye and brain process together,” he explained.
SiLC marks multiple accomplishments
SiLC noted that its achievement of “industry-leading, long-range detection” followed a number of announcements.
The company raised $17 million in Series A funding in May 2021. Investors in SiLC include Dell Technology Capital, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, FLUXUNIT – ams OSRAM Ventures, UMC Capital, Alter Ventures, and Epson.
Frost & Sullivan said the Eyeonic chip is ideally positioned to disrupt the global lidar market, and Gartner named SiLC a “Cool Vendor in Silicon Photonics.”
The company has also partnered with robotaxi provider AutoX, manufacturer Cloud Light, headlamp producer Varroc, and industrial automation supplier Hokuyo.
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