SICK AG and Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH announce a new partnership to co-develop a 3D solid-state LiDAR sensor. While Ibeo has a strong history of developing technology for the automotive sector, this new sensor will be focused on industrial applications.
LiDAR Technology Is Evolving Quickly
This story is one of many recent press releases related to the growth of the sensor market for autonomous systems. LiDAR is a mature sensor technology, that unfortunately remains one of the most expensive sensors used on autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). There is growing demand for LiDAR sensors both in applications for guidance and obstacle detection in AMRs, as well as machine guarding and perimeter safety in industrial applications. The high cost of rotating mirror LiDAR units has historically made them prohibitively expensive for many applications.
The opportunity to use LiDAR sensors in the much larger autonomous vehicle market has been the milestone that many AMR providers have been waiting for. It is anticipated that higher volume applications such as autonomous vehicles will help drive the sensor cost down for all use cases.
On top of this, the AMR market has been waiting for the successful development of solid-state LiDAR sensors that promise a ten-fold decrease in unit cost, and a subsequent increase in reliability. The advantage of a solid-state sensor is that there are no moving parts and the device can be manufactured much easier from less expensive components. Solid-state sensors should also be more reliable.
SICK And Ibeo Join Forces To Develop A New Industrial LiDAR Solution
The news of a partnership between SICK and Ibeo this week appears to be a step towards the successful production of an affordable, solid-state, 3D LiDAR sensor. In this partnership, Ibeo is providing its ibeoNEXT measurement core. SICK will develop the system design and the application software for a new industrial LiDAR sensor in order to solve industrial applications according to customer requirements.
“Autonomous systems will bring increasing changes to the industrial sector in the coming years. Even outside industrial facilities there is much potential in mobile applications for the implementation of intelligent sensor solutions. The partnership with Ibeo will enable us to use a robust and highly-developed technology from the automotive segment for future-oriented industrial applications,” said Dr. Robert Bauer, chairman of the executive board of SICK AG.
“Together with SICK, we are making an automotive LiDAR sensor available on a large scale for industrial applications for the first time. In the industrial sector, this is one of the largest LiDAR cooperation agreements ever concluded. Customers will profit from ibeoNEXT’s close-to-production development, based on automotive standards and the high quality standards that result from this, as well as the scale effects associated with it,” added Dr. Ulrich Lages, CEO of Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH. “We have had a long and close working relationship with SICK. Its extensive and in-depth application knowledge in the area of industrial applications and markets makes SICK an ideal partner to enable us to serve industrial markets.”
Adding to this potential is the fact that SICK has developed one of the strongest and broadest industrial sales channels for any sensor company. SICK currently has a portfolio of over 70,000 products.
The ibeoNEXT measurement core was developed for large-scale automotive production and is based on an entirely new photon laser measurement technology for measuring the spatial distance of objects in medium to long ranges. Even in adverse environmental conditions, such as precipitation, or in surroundings with high levels of shock or vibration, the ibeoNEXT measurement core reliably determines over 10,000 distance values from each 3D measurement. It also generates a black-and-white image similar to the picture of a camera, which enables an even more reliable ‘four-dimensional’ detection of the surroundings.
“We decided to use Ibeo’s solid-state LiDAR technology because it is currently one of the most advanced 3D LiDAR measurement systems available in the world. It is an addition to our technology portfolio and enables us to offer, on top of our existing industrial applications, new, easy-to-integrate solutions in the field of autonomous and semi-autonomous driving for use in the industrial sector,” said Dr. Kay Fürstenberg, senior vice-president for research and development at SICK AG.
At press time, the companies are targeting 2021 for the release of the new sensor solution.
For more information:
SICK AG: https://www.sick.com/us/en/
Ibeo Autonomotive Systems GmbH: https://www.ibeo-as.com/
EDITORS NOTE: SICK USA is a sponsor of The Mobile Robot Guide