As leading chip provider for driver assistance systems, Infineon continues its innovation path and has acquired 100 percent of Innoluce, a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Nijmegen. Based on the know-how of Innoluce, Infineon will develop chip components for high-performance lidar systems. Both companies agreed on confidentiality on the terms.
Lidar: A key sensor technology in the semi- and fully automated car
Lidar, radar and camera will be the three key sensor technologies for semi-automated and fully automated cars. Infineon is a technology frontrunner; with this acquisition it delivers expertise in all three complementary sensor systems which provide the redundancy required for autonomous driving. While radar uses radio-frequency electromagnetic waves, lidar employs laser beams to measure the distance to objects adjacent to the car. Scanning lidar systems help to detect small objects on the road.
“With this acquisition, we take a big step into the lidar technology that will play an important role in the safety cocoon essential to fully automated cars,” said Peter Schiefer, President of the Automotive division at Infineon. “We intend to make lidar an affordable feature for every new-built car worldwide”.
First lidar systems introduced in premium cars within the next couple of years are based on mechanical scanning mirrors and, thus, are bulky and rather expensive. To become a standard feature in all car classes, lidar systems need to be semiconductor-based, thus getting more compact, cost-effective, and robust.
Semiconductor experience stimulates driver assistance systems
Fostering autonomous driving, Infineon already helped to bring radar technology as an additional safety feature to the vehicle mass market: the use of proven technologies from chip mass production and a new chip packaging technology reduced both manufacturing costs and size of radar systems significantly. For their technological breakthroughs, Infineon’s radar chip team was nominated in 2015 for the prestigious German Future Award (Deutscher Zukunftspreis), the German President’s Award for Innovation in Science and Technology.