DURHAM –  Sense Photonics launched a new platform today, and along with it, announced a major partnership deal, as the company continues to innovate technologies that could pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles, and add value across additional industries in the future.

The company, which has offices in San Francisco, Durham, and Edinburgh, as well as other cities across the globe, shared in a statement that its automotive Lidar platform is now available.  The platform relies on patented technology, including a VCSEL laser emitter and SPAD receiver technologies, resulting in delivering a rich data point cloud with high points per second, that the company said is the richest of any automotive Lidar system.  The company stated that the platform, powered by the company’s proprietary technologies, will enable widespread advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicle systems.

“From a safety standpoint, motion blur and reaction time are critical issues when a vehicle is traveling at highway speeds,” said Scott Burroughs, co-founder and chief innovation officer, in a statement. “An autonomous system requires precise depth data in real-time to be aware of the vehicle’s surroundings, particularly in dynamic environments. Data gaps found in legacy scanning systems increase the likelihood to miss small objects, parking lot gates, or even road debris. Only a true solid-state flash Lidar can provide uniform high-resolution information across the entire field-of-view without motion blur or data gaps — which is exactly what we’ve developed.”

The announcement also included news of a partnership deal with a major Detroit-based automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM), where the two companies will collaborate on a development program.

“As our focus shifts from technology development to commercialization and production, this development agreement is a clear sign that Sense’s flexible architecture and world-class performance are the right solution for mass market automotive OEMs,” said CEO Shauna McIntyre in a statement.  “I am extremely proud of our team’s ability to bring Sense’s flash Lidar technology to market so quickly, as we moved from concept to automotive prototype in record time.”

The company calls its platform “camera-like,” and noted in a statement that its design “illuminates the entire scene and utilizes global shutter acquisition to capture all data points in a frame within the field-of-view simultaneously.”


Fueled by $26M in cash, Sense Photonics launches 3D sensor camera; autonomous vehicle product coming


The company stated that this improves the response time by an estimated three to five times for vehicles equipped with the platform, compared to other existing systems.

“As we set out to design this platform, our team realized that mass adoption of Lidar will only be realized at price points considerably less than today’s Lidar systems,” said McIntyre. “We built a scalable platform using our 100 percent solid-state SPAD and VCSEL components, similar to the Lidar found in the latest Apple iPhone. These proven components deliver not just scalability and cost-efficiency, but the durability and reliability needed for automotive production.”

The company stated that it built its platform to be modular and flexible, meaning that automakers across the industry could integrate Lidar solutions on existing automotive designs.”

The company raised $32 million in 2020, including a follow-on funder of $6 million after McIntyre, a former Google executive, was brought on as CEO.