The mobility sector is facing radical change, as we redifine mobility in terms of safety and sustainability. This is an exciting time in which many organisations develop new solutions that incorporate the latest technology. Today we talk to Ingo Diettele, CEO of Hybrid Lidar Systems. The Startup of the Week has developed exciting solutions to meet the needs of the modern transport system.
Hello Ingo! We’re glad you’re here today. Can you give us an insight into the German transport system and current developments? What role does your startup play in it?
Germany has one of the densest road and rail networks in the world. In this context, safety-relevant requirements of all types of mobility are essential areas of consideration for the industries involved. Among other things, autonomous mobility plays an important role in current discussions.
Mobility and safety have thus entered into an inseparable symbiosis. Sensors that take over the functions of the human eye and our experiential knowledge are indispensable for making autonomous driving possible. Research is increasingly focusing on LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors. These sensors are not ready yet to enter the mass market, but due to their characteristics they represent a potential solution for nationwide, fully automated driving that meets safety standards.
Our project focuses on the research and (further) development of LiDAR sensors and their applications, concentrating on a completely new approach. The decisive factor was the invention of an innovative measuring method. This allows data acquisition using novel digital signal processing algorithms with a very low computational effort.
A vehicle optimally equipped for traffic has to meet various industrial requirements. The currently available advanced technology offers partly precise and expensive solutions. With our product LiSSA (LiDAR for Smart Sensing and Automotive) we present a unique approach that meets and even exceeds the requirements. Due to the low computational effort, the innovation can be offered reliably and cost-effectively. With our hybrid process, in addition to high resolution (double VGA), a high degree of accuracy (<1 cm), a guaranteed laser safety class 1 (eye-safe), and a range of more than 200 meters are possible.
The combination of several novel approaches enables better object classification, which is a crucial safety factor for the movement of autonomous vehicles in a dynamic environment.
How exactly do your sensors work?
With our LiSSA Automotive it is possible to generate a high-resolution LiDAR image to detect objects. The software algorithms make it possible to change parameters that were previously firmly anchored in the chip. By using our multiplexing approach it is possible to drastically increase the usable chip area and thus to generate a high-resolution image. In addition, we are currently working on further novel components and can thus optimize the resolution in the future. The goal is to equip every moving object in road traffic with our LiDAR sensor technology so that we can raise traffic to a new level of security!
The high-resolution data that we provide with the help of our sensor is available for further processing both inside and outside the vehicle. LiDAR sensors are indispensable for further linking of the vehicle. Among others in the fields of logistics, consumer electronics (smartphones/tablets), augmented reality or even wind power and drones: Wherever a machine must or should be able to “see”, you need a LiDAR sensor.
You have already presented many unique values of the LiDAR sensor technology, can you go into more detail about the most important USP of your solution?
As already mentioned, we offer a significantly higher resolution with our product: This is done by our signal processing algorithm, which also drastically increases the usable chip area. In addition, an innovative multi-spectral approach is part of the project – this allows several areas of the environment being simultaneously, resulting in a faster and higher resolution environment detection.
Is your innovation already usable?
Not yet. Currently the Hybrid Lidar Systems is mainly in the research and development process. In our laboratory we are manufacturing the first LiDAR sensors in manual work with prototype components. We are active in the field of optoelectronics, as well as hardware and software programming and act as a design center.
Within the next two years we aim to revolutionize autonomous mobility using LiDAR sensors. The long-term, overriding goal is to use our sensor to provide the basis for safe and cost-efficient mobility for the mass market.
I see. In which industries is your product at home? Only the automotive industry?
Not quite. The main target group is the international automotive industry, yes. However, we have also established numerous contacts with other industries that require the advantages of LiDAR sensors. The “seeing” is an elementary property that is needed in many sectors (logistics, industry, wind energy, health care & sports, traffic & mobility) to take products to a new (safety) level.
You mentioned earlier that you are still in the research phase. What is the next big milestone for you?
We have been pursuing our goals since the end of 2018, the founding of the company. At the end of Q4 this year, Q1/2021 we plan to book our first automotive project. Our industrial product LiSSA Industry is already available for order and will be delivered to the first customer in the logistics sector at the end of this year.