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Automotive LiDAR technology for Space applications

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
Start Date
End Date
The objective of the activity is to spin-in automotive LiDAR technology for use in Space applications.
Imaging, Radar and LiDAR system technologies are required to enable the realisation of fully self-driving (autonomous) cars, known as Level 5 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Of these sensor types, commercial LiDAR is far behind the other options in terms of endurance, reliability and cost. These concerns are primarily due to the current LiDAR systems use of scanning technology that relies on many moving parts.
To resolve this, technology is required that enables a scan-less and pure solid-state solution involving no moving parts and which can be integrated on top of existing silicon CMOS read-out technologies. The key building block required as part of this activity is a LiDAR solution based around novel diode technology, a photodiode array and a high-resolution timing circuit.
The goals of the activity are to produce a direct time-of-flight depth/3D sensor platform enabling the next generation of pulse solid-state LiDAR solutions, based on automotive LiDARs but tailored for use in Space applications, which will potentially pave the way for a combined depth and imaging (camera) in one sensor. Specifically, the aim is to design a packaged sensor module, which includes Silicon CMOS Read Out Integrated Circuits (ROIC) with post-processed thin film photodiode.
The activity will:
    • Conduct a market and literature search on existing state-of-the-art similar small Lidar technologies
    • Determine the most suitable technologies that can optimised for use in Space applications
    • Determine the optimum operational performance requirements of the LiDAR by analysis and associated Space mission requirements
    • Perform a thorough technology trade-off to determine the optimum solution for a combined 3D LiDAR sensor. ;Emphasis shall be placed on space qualified CIS, ROIC and timing circuit.
    • Modelling and simulation of system performance and verification of the requirements.
    • Manufacturing of a prototype representative breadboard of the key technology components for the 3D LiDAR sensor.
    • Provide a performance test plan and actual testing of the assembled prototype.
    • Provide a technological development roadmap, which will enable an Engineering Model of the 3D LiDAR sensor to be manufactured and tested in a relevant space environment, achieving a higher TRL.


Application Domain
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain
1 - On-board Data Subsystems
17 - Optoelectronics
6 - RF Subsystems, Payloads and Technologies
Competence Domain
5-Radiofrequency & Optical Systems and Products
Initial TRL
Target TRL
Achieved TRL