Few-Mode Preamplified Receiver Design Improves LIDAR Performance in Autonomous Vehicles
UCF researchers have developed an innovation in remote sensing technology that may help speed the large-scale deployment of LIDAR (light detection and ranging) in autonomous vehicles. With its novel few-mode (FM) preamplified receiver architecture, the new UCF LIDAR system has demonstrated a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that is almost an order of magnitude higher than that of other systems. Besides providing much improved sensitivity and signal quality, the new eye-safe LIDAR system also allows for lower transmitter (laser) power, and thus, reduced costs.
The invention is a LIDAR system that attaches to the roof or front of a motor vehicle. The system includes a transmitter with a modulated infrared light source that emits an optical signal toward an object. It also includes a receiver that collects light reflected from the object. The receiver consists of a few-mode pre-amplifier, such as an Erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) or a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA), which supports two or more spatial modes. The system outputs the amplified signal to a photodetector with a p-intrinsic-n (PIN) photodiode and a processing unit.
- Provides better signal quality at longer distances than existing LIDAR systems
- Enables the use of lower power, less costly lasers as transmitters
- Uses PIN detectors, which are two to three times cheaper than current avalanche photodiode (APD) detector technology
Receiver for 1550 nm LIDAR systems