AMD powers DENSO's next-gen automotive lidar systems

AMD continues to find success with Japanese automotive manufacturers for deployment of its Xilinx Automotive (XA) Zynq UltraScale+ adaptive system-on-a-chip. After recently announcing a relationship with Aisin, the semiconductor giant this week revealed that Japan’s DENSO will use the multi-processor SoC in its next-generation lidar platform.

The new platform, DENSO’s Single-Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) lidar system, will begin shipping in 2025, and will improve resolution by more than 20x, with “extremely low latency for increased precision in detecting pedestrians, vehicles, free space and more,” according to an AMD statement.

“We are excited to expand our collaboration with AMD as we introduce our next-generation lidar system,” said Eiichi Kurokawa, head of Sensing System business unit, DENSO Corporation, in the statement. “AMD high-performance, highly scalable, programmable silicon offers distinct benefits for the extremely complex image processing requirements of our lidar sensor architecture. The flexibility and capabilities of the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC platform and its ability to meet stringent functional safety requirements led us to work with AMD.”

DENSO’s SPAD lidar can generate more than three million points-per-second at 10 frames per-second, and uses the AMD SoCs for system monitoring functionality to help enable the temperature and overall system to function correctly. The DENSO system generates the highest point-cloud density level of any lidar system on the market today, which is important, as this describes the number of points within a given area and is analogous to image resolution, translating to richer data and more details being captured that fuel decision-making. 

Generally speaking, SPAD lidar systems are viewed as space-savers, and in keeping with that notion, the XA Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC enables DENSO’s lidar systems to reduce the size and cost of lidar implementations, allowing multiple lidars to work in tandem for forward view and side views of a vehicle. This will be key as future generations of vehicles will have multiple systems including forward-facing, rear facing, and side-view lidars as automotive technology progresses from a focus on driver assistance to full autonomy. DENSO lidar can also be used for infrastructure monitoring, factory automation and other non-automated driving applications.

Back in November, AMD announced the same SoC was being used in the Automated Parking-Assist system from Japanese manufacturer Aisin, which is due for availability in 2024 vehicle models.