Sense Photonics’ $2900 flash lidar enters production

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Having entered the lidar market a few months ago, Sense Photonics is now closer to releasing its new ‘flash’ lidar architecture.

With initial product availability beginning in Q1 2020, the new Sense Solid-State Flash lidar is an industrial-grade 3D time-of-flight (ToF) camera that features a wide field-of-view (FOV) and high-resolution data output at a range of up to 40 meters, which Sense Photonics claims to be “the longest available in the market for a device of its kind.”

While the initial prototype had both vehicular and robotic applications in mind, Sense Solid-State Flash lidar sensor was designed for industrial automation, including robotics, material handling, activity monitoring, last-mile delivery, volumetric measurement, motion tracking, 3D inspection, palletization and more.

This new sensor is available in three customizable variations, the Sense 30, 60, and 75, featuring a FOV from 80° x 30° up to 95° x 75°, with a compromise – the higher the FOV is, the shorter the range. According to the company, this vertical FOV is 2.5x Wider than other options on the market, and it also features a 7.5x higher vertical resolution – 0.27° angular resolution compared to 2.0° for other sensors.

Additionally, the lidar sensor accurately images a wide variety of object surface reflectivities with its HDR mode, and features multi-camera interference immunity providing reliable operation in multi-camera systems using a 940nm wavelength. Also, as reported by Techcrunch, “the devices have been ruggedized so they can be attached outside of enclosures even in dusty or rainy environments”.

“We’re excited to bring to market the next generation of 3D sensing with a powerful combination of features that are collectively unmatched in the industrial marketplace,” said Sense Photonics CEO Scott Burroughs. “When you look at the leading industrial-focused 3D sensors, they typically have very short-range performance, don’t work well in outdoor sunlight, have interference issues, or are very expensive. We are pleased by the feedback we’re getting as customers learn that our unique offering is the answer to these problems.”

Earlier this year, the company entered the lidar market with a $26 million Series A funding round co-led by Acadia Woods and Congruent Ventures, with participation from a few other investors. Although Sense Photonics built this new sensor for industrial applications, this doesn’t mean it is turning away from automated vehicles as “we’ve developed one product line for automotive and one for industrial automation,” Burroughs told The RobotReport. So, we’ve yet to see how Sense Photonics plans to go head-to-head with other companies in that industry.

Individually priced at $2900, Sense Photonics’ lidar sensor is now available for pre-order.

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João Antunes

IT and videogames are João's topics of interest since a very early age. Videogames, the Internet, game consoles and computers became his normal toys, as result of being the son of a journalist writing about the infancy of the Web, the games industry and hardware in general. Small game reviews published on the first Portuguese computer games magazine, back in the early 2000s ignited a passion – writing - he now pursues, along with his other interests: programming, web designing and hardware. Technology in general makes him tick.

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