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Mitsubishi Electric Develops Compact MEMS LiDAR Solution for Autonomous Vehicles

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a compact light-detection and ranging (LiDAR) solution incorporating a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) that achieves an extra-wide horizontal scanning angle to accurately detect the shapes and distances of objects ahead in autonomous driving systems. The new LiDAR solution irradiates objects by laser and uses a dual-axis (horizontal and vertical) MEMS mirror to scan for the reflected light, generating three-dimensional images of vehicles and pedestrians. Mitsubishi Electric’s new development incorporates the industry’s largest electromagnetic MEMS mirror, measuring 7mm by 5mm, in a lightweight design which is able to scan horizontally and vertically. Despite its size, the unique structure of the MEMS mirror facilitates a reduction in weight without sacrificing rigidity.

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The lightweight design and high electromagnetically generated driving force allows the mirror to achieve large horizontal movement of ±15 degrees. Vertical movement is currently ±3.4 degrees, and Mitsubishi Electric aims to increase this to ±6.0 degrees or more by improving the beam structure of the MEMS. The MEMS mirror can be produced in large quantities on a silicon substrate using semiconductor-processing technology, making it suitable for mass production. In addition, it uses fewer parts compared to mirrors driven mechanically with motors, which will contribute to the durability of the LiDAR solution. The LiDAR body has a volume of just 900 cc owing to optimal arrangement of the signal processing circuitry, power supply circuit and optical transmission/reception mechanism. Mitsubishi Electric expects this compact, low-cost solution to contribute to the realization of safe, secure autonomous driving.

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