As if to echo Gartner’s analyst Sam Wang’s assertion that there’s substantial life remaining in less-advanced process nodes (see “Is 28nm really here? Now? When?”), Austriamicrosystems has just announced a mixed-signal LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) chipset for automotive anti-collision and obstacle-avoidance applications. The chipset incorporates analog and digital state-machine circuitry to generate fast pulses and convert return signals received by a rear-view-mirror-mounted photodiode array into ranging data within an 8m zone in front of the car. The data flows from the chipset to an MCU over an SPI port. Significantly, the analog bandwidth in this 0.35-micron chip is 70GHz. Howzat? It’s a Si-Ge chipset, not plain CMOS silicon. It’s still 0.35 microns though.
Additional info in this EETimes Europe article: “ASIC chip set helps put Continental’s crash prevention system on the road.”
See the new LIDAR and Google Self-Driving vehicle article by EDN’s Margery Conner here. It’s a great read.