Acquisition takes Infineon into automotive LIDAR market

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Infineon has acquired Innoluce, a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Nijmegen. Based on Innoluce’s technology, Infineon says it will develop chip components for high performance LIDAR systems.

“With this acquisition, we are taking a big step into the LIDAR technology that will play an important role in the safety cocoon essential to fully automated cars,” said Peter Schiefer, pictured, president of Infineon’s automotive division. “We intend to make LIDAR an affordable feature for every new-built car worldwide.”

According to the company, LIDAR, radar and cameras will be the three key sensor technologies for semi- and fully automated cars. The acquisition brings the company competence in the three complementary sensor systems which provide the redundancy required for autonomous driving. LIDAR uses lasers to measure the distance to objects adjacent to the car, while scanning LIDAR systems can detect small objects on the road.

Infineon says the first LIDAR systems will appear in premium cars in the next couple of years, but says these will be based on mechanical scanning mirrors. In order to become a standard feature in all cars, LIDAR needs to be compact, cost effective and robust and therefore semiconductor based.

Innoluce, a spin-off from Philips, is said to be a leading innovator of miniature laser scanning modules that integrate silicon based solid state MEMS micromirrors.