Photonic technologies for 3D detection

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The Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development (CD6 UPC) and BEAMAGINE, S.L., a spin-off from the same Centre, have begun to participate in the European project VIZTA (Vision, Identification and Z-sensing Technologies and Key Applications).

The aim of VIZTA is to capitalize on and develop technologies and components in the field of optical sensors and light sources for short- (up to 5 m), medium- (up to 60 m) and long-range (over 100 m) 3D detection, and demonstrate its value in applications including the automotive industry, security, smart buildings, mobile robotics for smart cities and industry 4.0.

Among the technologies that will be developed during the execution of the project, CD6 and BEAMAGINE will work in the automotive area and their activities will focus on long-range detection using LIDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging). In particular, the UPC and Beamagine will act as specifiers of the detectors and light sources that are developed in European laboratories in the consortium that are related to this application. They will undertake the tasks of designing, constructing and integrating the components into operational prototypes, and will validate their features. Long-range LIDARS are key components in the development of the set of sensors for future autonomous vehicles, as they are at the limit of the component specifications and current regulations. A number of technologies are competing to attain the right characteristics in a market as large as that of the automotive sector.

The project kick-off took place in Paris on the 20 and 21 May. VIZTA, which will last 42 months, is funded through the Horizon 2020 programme, in particular JU ECSEL (Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership), initiative, and co-funded by the Spanish state. The transnational consortium that is involved brings together 23 members from 9 European countries with a total budget of 88 million euros and is led by ST Microelectronics (France). Within the consortium are 6 Spanish members (4 Catalans), with a national budget of 5 million euros, which makes it the largest collaborative project associated with industrial photonics that has been undertaken in Spain.

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