With the support of investors such as BMW i Ventures and Toyota AI Ventures, the Blackmore team successfully worked with the Department of Defense to improve the Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) Lidar to meet the stringent requirements of the automotive industry. (According to Maers Consulting’s previous report, in March 2018, Blackmore completed a $18 million Series B round of financing from BMW i Ventures and Toyota AI Ventures.)
Blackmore’s lidar solution uses frequency modulated continuous waves instead of short energy laser pulses. The green laser pointer frequency modulation continuous wave scheme is more suitable for solid state beam steering using integrated photonics. That’s why Blackmore works with leading research partners to develop silicon photonics solid-state scanners for specific applications. This technology, in conjunction with the Blackmore Lidar engine, enables the mass production of fully solid-state lidar sensors.
Blackmore’s Doppler lidar sensors are the only laser radars that can measure real-time speeds at each probe point, helping to make autonomous driving smarter and safer. Conventional pulsed lidar systems do not directly measure the motion of an object, which means that speed information can only be obtained after running a computationally complex and error-prone analysis algorithm based on multi-frame data. With Blackmore’s Instantaneous Doppler enhancement data, autonomous vehicles can sense the world around them more reliably and with low latency for safer auto-cruise.
Blackmore Doppler lidar also eliminates interference from sunlight and other sensors, improving long-range detection performance compared to conventional lidars. These performance advantages combined with speed measurements help achieve safer autonomous driving.
The optical layer of the Blackmore Lidar system is built on standard fiber optic communication components. By leveraging decades of fiber-optic communications, Blackmore is confident in the scalability and reliability of its designs.