STMicro Unveils the High-Resolution All-in-One VL53L9 Direct Time-of-Flight LIDAR Sensor

Fully-integrated LIDAR sensor can stream 2D infrared imagery and 3D depth data at 60 frames per second, STMicro says.

Gareth Halfacree
2 months agoSensors

STMicroelectronics has announced the launch of a new all-in-one direct time-of-flight (dToF) 3D LIDAR sensor offering nearly 2,300 measurement zones — and has also unveiled that its earlier 500k-pixel VD55H1 ToF sensor has found a home in mobile robot deep vision systems from China's Lanxin Technology.

"ToF sensors, which can accurately measure the distance to objects in a scene, are driving exciting new capabilities in smart devices, home appliances, and industrial automation," claims STMicro's Alexandre Balmefrezol. "We have already delivered two billion sensors into the market and continue to extend our unique portfolio, which covers all types from the simplest single-zone devices up to our latest high-resolution 3D indirect and direct ToF sensors."

It's the latter direct time-of-flight technology that is behind STMicro's latest sensor, the VL53L9. Designed for three-dimensional light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensing, the VL53L9 uses a dual-scan flood illumination system from a pair of embedded infrared lasers to capture both a two-dimensional infrared representation of a scene and 3D depth map information from 5cm out to 10m (around two inches to 33 feet) and with a measurement resolution of up to 54×42 (2,268) zones.

A major feature of the new sensor that it's a true all-in-one device, STMicro says: everything required is within the compact sensor itself, which can stream a post-processed two-dimensional image, depth data, and a confidence map at 60 frames per second — the fastest on the market, the company claims. There's also a raw histogram output mode, which the company suggests could be of use for feeding into an artificial intelligence (AI) system for further processing.

At the same time, STMicro has also announced that its earlier VD55H1 indirect ToF sensor has entered mass production, and that it will be appearing in mobile robot deep vision systems made by Lanxin Technology. "The high-performance, ultra-compact cameras with ST's sensor inside combine the power of 3D vision and edge AI," the company says, "delivering intelligent obstacle avoidance and high-precision docking in mobile robots."

The VL53L9, meanwhile, is now sampling to "lead customers" with general availability scheduled for early 2025; pricing has not yet been disclosed, but STMicro has confirmed it will be showing the sensor off at Mobile World Congress later this month, Booth #7A61. More information is available on the company's website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles