Sony IMX459 SPAD dToF for Automotive LiDAR Launched

Sony IMX459 SPAD dToF for Automotive LiDAR

Sony IMX459 SPAD dToF for Automotive LiDAR

Today, Sony Semiconductor announced the launch of the industry’s first direct time-of-flight (dToF) stacked SPAD (single-photon avalanche diode) depth sensor IMX459, which can be used for automotive LIDAR. Sony IMX459 can help advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD), and samples are expected to ship in March next year.

Sony SPAD Depth Sensor for Automotive LiDAR

According to the report, the product will be only 10 square microns in size SPAD pixels and ranging processing circuitry packaged on a single chip, forming a compact 1/2.9-type form factor for high precision, high-speed distance measurement.

IMX459 SPAD ToF depth sensor for automotive LiDAR applications

Among the many methods used for LIDAR ranging, the SPAD pixel is used as a detection element in the dToF sensor, which measures the distance to an object based on the time of flight (time difference) between the light emitted by the light source and its return to the sensor after being reflected by the object, Sony said.

Using technologies such as back-illuminated pixel structure, stacked structure, and Cu-Cu connection created during the development of CMOS image sensors, Sony has succeeded in building a unique component structure that packages SPAD pixels and ranging processing circuitry on a single chip.

This design enables pixel sizes as small as 10 square microns to be miniaturized while achieving a high resolution of approximately 100,000 effective pixels on a 1/2.9-type size format. It also enhances photon detection efficiency and improves responsiveness for high speed, high accuracy distance measurement from long range to close range in a unit range of every 15 cm.

SPAD ToF depth sensor stacked configuration (Top: SPAD pixels, bottom: distance measuring processing circuit)
Imaging example (point cloud)
Mechanical scanning LiDAR reference design

The product meets functional safety standards for automotive applications and contributes to the reliability of LIDAR, and the single-chip structure helps achieve smaller, lower-cost LIDAR.

Sony IMX459 Specifications

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