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Stellantis invests in new-gen lidar that could enhance ADAS in future models

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Stellantis Ventures, the automaker’s corporate venture fund, has invested in SteerLight — the developer of a new generation lidar sensing technology.

Employing silicon photonics technology, which combines a universal semiconductor material with the speed of photos, SteerLight’s lidar senses the surrounding environment in 3D with higher resolution and precision, and at a lower volume production cost, than other lidar systems, according to a news release from the companies.

The technology has the potential to give drivers of future Stellantis brand vehicles better performance in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including automated driving, Stellantis said.

“A central aspect of our Dare Forward 2030 initiatives is identifying groundbreaking technologies that deliver substantial value to our customers on a large scale,” said Ned Curic, Stellantis chief engineering and technology officer, in the release. “Automated driving enhancements remain a top priority at Stellantis. The game-changing work at SteerLight can enable enhanced and widespread ADAS applications.”

SteerLight, a spinoff of the French CEA-Leti technology center, employs Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) lidar based on silicon photonics technology that puts the system on a microchip, the release says. The system doesn’t have any moving parts and is compact to maximize flexibility for vehicle engineers thus overcoming the challenges of today’s lidar technology for vehicles — component size and high cost, the companies said.

“We see a great benefit from having Stellantis’ corporate venture fund recognize our innovation so we can unlock large-scale adoption of lidar for industrial and mobility applications,” said François Simoens, co-founder and CEO of SteerLight, in the release. “Our new lidar technology is key to support new services in the automotive industry, and we are looking forward to working together to advance the next generation of vehicles.”

Other investors include Quantonation and LIFTT, making the total funding, along with Stellantis Ventures’ portion, $2.1 million. SteerLight plans to use the money to continue the development of its lidar prototype based on a microchip.


Featured image credit: SteerLight

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