Ouster Introduces Chronos: The Best-in-Class Automotive Digital Lidar Chip

The Chronos chip will drive improved performance and power efficiency in Ouster Automotive’s DF series, the first solid-state digital lidar for mass production vehicles

SAN FRANCISCO – Ouster, Inc., a leading provider of high-resolution digital lidar sensors, today announced the introduction of the Chronos chip, an automotive-grade, fully custom digital lidar silicon receiver that will power its DF solid-state sensor suite. The state-of-the-art Chronos chip is the foundation of the DF architecture and enables Ouster to deliver more performant, power-efficient, and compact digital lidar sensors that enable L2 to L5 automation in high-volume automotive series production vehicles.

The Chronos chip harnesses Ouster’s proprietary digital lidar architecture and some of the latest advancements in semiconductor technology. This design allows Ouster’s DF sensors to benefit from the same dramatic performance improvements that made the digital camera ubiquitous across industries. With superior logic and performance capabilities, the Chronos chip delivers improved memory, dynamic range, and detection accuracy. Ouster expects the Chronos chip to be the most powerful SPAD-based lidar chip produced to date, reiterating the Company’s leading edge in digital lidar semiconductors and systems.

As the backbone of Ouster’s DF series sensors for automotive series production programs, the Chronos chip is designed to meet ASIL-B automotive functional safety requirements according to ISO 26262 and AEC-Q100 automotive qualifications. Ouster intends to tapeout the Chronos chip in late 2022, and to integrate the chips into the first sample units in 2023. Ouster expects the DF series to be available for mass-market passenger vehicles starting production in 2025.

“Unlike lidar technologies which require the complex integration of numerous off-the-shelf components, our proprietary and cutting-edge digital lidar technology produce simple and powerful sensors that automotive OEMs can trust to achieve new levels of safety and autonomy,” said Iain Levy, VP of Ouster Automotive. “Ouster Automotive’s Chronos chip represents the latest in SPAD technology, making our solid-state digital lidar sensors highly performant, reliable, power-efficient, compact, and easily manufacturable.”

“Since Ouster’s inception, we knew that digital VCSEL/SPAD technology would be the future of lidar and usher in a new era of autonomy across our four industry verticals. We consistently leapfrog current performance with each chip tape out for our OS sensors, and we are on track to do the same with our DF sensors,” said Mark Frichtl, Ouster’s Chief Technology Officer. “We believe our DF sensors powered by the new Chronos chip will be a major catalyst for growth over the coming years and position us for automotive production program wins.”


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