Recently, according to foreign media reports, Toshiba released a new type of lidar. Compared with the previous lidar, the new lidar projection device has been reduced by three-quarters in size and has a range of up to 300 meters.
According to the data, the new lidar uses two new projector units with a volume of only 206 cubic centimeters, which can be easily placed in the palm of the hand. Its ranging range is extended to 300 meters, and the image resolution is 1200 × 84 pixels. This lidar can be flexibly configured with a combination of projector units to handle a variety of long-range and wide-angle detection applications.This lidar will drive Toshiba’s development in key application areas such as autonomous driving and infrastructure monitoringand further applied to explore cooperation in other fields such as robotics, drones and small safety equipment.
Toshiba has launched lidar research to improve the flexibility of autonomous driving and infrastructure. In addition to extending the ranging range, providing wider viewing angles and higher resolution, lidars must also be made smaller. However, balancing the range, size, and eye safety of lidars has always been a challenge. Akihide Sai, a senior research scientist at Toshiba’s R&D Center, said, “In order to expand the range of the laser light emitted by a single projector, its intensity must be increased. In addition, its emission width must be increased to avoid focusing the beam on a small spot, which can damage eyesight. The problem is, a wider launch requires a bigger projector.”
Toshiba’s solution is a lidar that uses multiple small projectors as laser beam sources. These small projectors fire an eye-safe beam in the same direction, not only extending the effective range but also reducing the overall size of the lidar. The key to making this progress is reducing the size of the projector to 71 cubic centimeters. Compared to previous prototypes, the company has reduced the size of the motor control board by 60% through an innovative circuit design and leveraged 3D component mounting knowledge to reposition components and lenses. In addition, the development team used Toshiba’s patented motor control technology to design a triple control loop for controlling the rotation speed, rotation angle and current of the polygon mirror in multiple projectors. This ensures high-precision synchronization, and the deflection angle of the mirror does not exceed 0.02 degrees.
In field tests, Toshiba confirmed that,The lidar equipped with the two new projectors has a range of 300 meters, which is 1.5 times longer than the range of the previous single-projector prototype.