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Opsys LiDAR dials up cost advantage thanks to Apple tech


Opsys scanning LiDAR matches or exceeds the range and resolution of competitive automotive lidar systems, and – thanks to Apple – significantly beats competitors on cost.


How’s Apple involved? Israel-based Opsys LiDAR technology is built using the same vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) and single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) chips Apple is using in its new iPhone 12 and iPad Pro. Opsys chose VCSELs and SPAD because those components achieve LiDAR's technical goals, and because they are low cost, durable, can function in broad temperature ranges and are easily mass produced, with low waste.


The cost of VCSEL and SPAD chips dropped even lower last year when Apple incorporated the technology in its devices’ cameras. The new demand for VCSEL and SPAD chips for Apple products created a spike in production capacity for the component. With capacity and production now occurring at a greater scale, Opsys is able to procure its VCSEL lasers and SPAD receivers at an even lower cost.


"By the time Apple finished saying to the world 'I need VCSELs for my phone,' everyone was building capacity around the world to supply it," Opsys Executive Chairman Eitan Gertel said. "Suddenly, the cost went down an order of magnitude. Instead of a dollar or two, it costs pennies. That enables us to use it in automotive, low-cost, high-performance technology."


Opsys Tech’s choice to use VCSEL’s was already a cost-effective one. VCSELs don’t have to be hermetically packaged and they can operate in a broad temperature range.


“When you look at the cost of a laser, most of the cost is usually in the packaging and the heat control, not the laser itself,” Gertel said. “By eliminating the need for those costs, we’re able to produce very low-cost, high resolution, scanning lidar.”


Benefits of Opsys Tech Scanning LiDAR:

  • Pure solid state (no moving parts) means high durability

  • 200-meter range (surpasses flash lidar's 50-meter range while maintaining eye safety)

  • Scans full field of view at 1,000 frames per second

  • System averages inputs to operate on 30 frames per second (Averaging inputs eliminates errors caused by interference)

  • Customizable, multi-wavelength system (this allows clients to customize the field of view to their needs by integrated multiple units without creating interference between transmitters)

  • Low-cost (silicon semiconductor-based VCSEL lasers and SPAD receivers).


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