Mitsubishi Electric has announced the development of a compact lidar that uses MEMS technology. The device provides a very wide horizontal scan angle. It is intended for self-driving vehicles and will allow them to detect objects in the direction of travel.
Lidar irradiates objects with a laser, using a MEMS mirror to receive reflected light, with the help of which scanning along two axes (horizontal and vertical) is implemented. To obtain accurate three-dimensional images of the lens, you need a mirror with a large surface area, and for monitoring peripheral areas requires a wide scanning angle. According to Mitsubishi Electric, the new lidar uses the industry’s largest 7×5 mm MEMS electromagnetic mirror, capable of scanning horizontally and vertically. The horizontal scanning angle reaches ± 15 °, the vertical – ± 3.4 °, but Mitsubishi Electric expects to increase it to ± 6.0 °. It is expected that over time, the vertical scanning angle will be increased to 25 °, which will make it possible to detect vehicles and pedestrians even in the immediate vicinity of a self-driving vehicle. The advantages of MEMS mirrors include the possibility of mass production on silicon substrates using well-developed semiconductor manufacturing technologies. A smaller number of parts compared to mirrors driven mechanically by engines should contribute to the durability of the device. The lidar volume is only 900 cm3. Mitsubishi Electric specialists have set a goal to develop an ultra-small lidar with a volume of not more than 350 cm3.