Interview with Wade Appelman, former VP of Sales and Marketing at SensL and now after their announced acquisition by ON Semiconductor last week, VP of Marketing and Business Development at ON Semiconductor.
Wow, big news from ON Semiconductor recently. Can you tell us about the acquisition?
As you just mentioned last month SensL was acquired by ON Semiconductor. All of us at SensL are excited to be joining their team and bringing our SiPM and SPAD products into their product portfolio which runs the gamut from image sensors to radar transceivers and now includes solutions for LiDAR. The great part of this acquisition is that it also benefits everyone involved. Our customers and employees specifically. On the customer side this gives our already strong roadmap even better resources to rapidly bring improved sensors for LiDAR to market which are required for ever increasing range and accuracy at 905nm. ON Semiconductor also is the market leader in automotive image sensors and has considerable experience in developing products that are automotive qualified. This expertise will help us navigate the hard challenge of bringing a wide range of SiPM and SPAD arrays to market that meet the most stringent OEM requirements.
I’ll also mention that SensL also has a large presence in medical and research markets and our roadmap for these offerings continue, backed by the entire SensL team which are moving over to ON Semiconductor so really business as usual for us. Now just with the resources of a company with 34,000 employees!
You also just announced new products for LiDAR, can you give us the latest on what we can expect on SiPM performance now and into the future?
We just announced our latest R-Series product called the MicroRB. This is a second generation SiPM which is optimized for 905nm which is now the wavelength of choice for most solid-state LiDAR designs. The MicroRB has 10.3% photon detection efficiency (PDE) and responsivity of 420 kA/W at 905nm which is a doubling of performance from our first generation. We are now shipping this product in volume and customers are starting to ramp their systems to production.
On the roadmap, we know that even with the performance of the MicroRB long distance LiDAR requires ever increasing photon detection capabilities to meet the automotive OEMs goal of object detection. The goals are clear that LiDAR systems must identify targets >200M in bright light when the target is very difficult to identify because it has a low reflective surface, such as a pedestrian in dark clothing. SensL/ON Semiconductor has products under development now that will significantly increase our photon detection probability and allow us to work with customer building FLASH or scanning time of flight LiDAR systems.
Now that SensL is combined with ON Semiconductor can you give us a sense of what sensing technology will look like in the car 2/5/10 years from now and the benefit?
ON Semiconductor is a leader in image sensors in automotive, industrial and consumer applications as well as ultrasonic processors. We are also in the process of developing radar transceivers and microprocessors. With SensL technology, we are now in a unique position to combine all 4 types of sensing intelligently to achieve the levels of autonomy that the OEMs and consumers will demand. SensL technology gives car manufacturers an ability to sense depth in the most economical way with a proven technology based on SiPM and SPADs, that have been in the market for over a decade. Accurate and high-resolution depth sensing is the future of imaging and this acquisition gives us an ability to shape the future sensor architecture of fully autonomous vehicles. In the future, technology will be more and more intelligent at sensing, will be much less costly so it can be deployed in every vehicle.
What are you going to be showing at the upcoming AutoSens show?
Well we will have a new logo in the booth for sure! But besides that, we will be showing the SensL LiDAR demonstrator which we developed to show 1D SiPM arrays in action and also sharing the latest on our new R-Series SiPM.
Both SensL and ON Semiconductor will have a presence at AutoSens in Brussels this September. Book your tickets here to come and meet them.