Sensors built from light
Photonics is a key enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT) & Autonomous Systems. For its implementation IoT relies heavily on sensor technology. Sensors need to be small, robust and energy efficient to be embedded in machines, appliances, buildings and infrastructure and succesfully collect data over large periods of time.
Fibre optic sensors – manufactured using photonics technology – are not only more sensitive than existing electromagnetic sensors, but also faster operating, better able to withstand harsh conditions and immune to electromagnetic interference.
Photonics chips and sensors are already in use in the aerospace industry. Installed on aircraft wings photonic sensors can measure strain 10,000 more accurately than existing electromagnetic sensors.
LiDAR technology in self-driving cars
Photonics is also a catalyst technology for autonomous systems, such as self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicles have to be able to ‘see’ their environment in order to differentiate between objects, pedestrians and other vehicles. Light detection and radar, more commonly known as ‘LiDAR’, is a photonics based technology capable of providing self-driving cars with accurate vision. Because of its high-angular-resolution imagery lidar is the best available technology to recognize objects at high speeds and has become one of the most important detection modes for autonomous vehicles.
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