Intel and Mobileye develop LiDAR in a Chip

Mobileye announced during CES 2021 this week that it has produced the first prototype of an Automotive LiDAR sensor based on Intel’s Silicon Photonics technology. The new sensor is planned to be installed in its Autonomouse Driving systems in 2025, when the market will be ready for a mass deployment of AVs. According to Prof. Amnon Shashua, President and CEO of Mobileye, the new sensor is based on Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technology and Doppler-style algorithms as opposed to the current Time of Flight sensors.

The FMCW sensor provides 4D velocity relative measurements for a distance of up to 300 meters. Its high resolution detection capability reaches 600 points per degree, created by 2 milliom laser pulses per second (2M PPS). The idea is that current approaches and available sensors are too expensive for consumer AVs. Mobileye needs Radars and LiDARs that are both better and cheaper. To reach L5 autonomy it propose three levels of redundancy in the forward-facing field of view (FoV), and for the rest of the FoV, 2 levels of redundancy.

In this scenario, the EV system consists of 360⁰ camera coverage, 360⁰ Radar cocoon and one forward-facing LiDAR sensor. In fact, Intel owns a unique Fab capable of putting active and passive optical elements on a chip together, including lasers and optical amplifiers, loaded onto a photonic integrated circuit, PIC.

The goals for the future radar chip are also very agressive: It will be a software-defined imaging radar eqipped with 2,304 virtual channels based on 48 by 48 transmitters and receivers. This radar will be able to detect motorcycles beyond 200m, old tire on the road, 140 meters away and low and small hazards on the road.

Digi-Key is Official Raspberry Pi Authorized Distributor

Digi-Key Electronics announced that it is an official Raspberry Pi authorized distributor and will carry the full line of Raspberry Pi products. “With more than 36 million platforms sold, Raspberry Pi has become a go-to solution for everything from rapid prototyping to production ready designs.”

Raspberry Pi’s full line of products includes low-cost, high-performance computers and development boards designed to help users of all levels with computing and digital making. Raspberry Pi has been adopted across the board from students and makers to startups and established OEMs as a leading provider of low-cost, high-performance computers that people us to learn, solve problems, and create solutions.

“We have continued to see a huge acceleration in the use of Raspberry Pi products across a wide range of industrial applications, so we are very excited to add Digi-Key as an authorized distributor focused on serving the industrial market for us globally,” said Mike Buffham, chief commercial officer at Raspberry Pi. “Digi-Key will stock the complete range of Raspberry Pi products, including the recently released Compute Module 4 range (photo above), which we believe is ideally suited to Digi-Key’s global customers.”

About Digi-Key Electronics

Digi-Key Electronics, headquartered in Thief River Falls, Minn., USA, is an authorized global, full-service distributor of electronic components, and provides access to unlimited adjacent products and technologies through their online Marketplace. They offer more than 11.5 million components, with over 2.6 million in stock and available for immediate shipment, from over 1,500 quality name-brand manufacturers.

For more information visit www.digikey.com and on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram, and LinkedIn.

For Raspberry Pi Products: Digi-Key – Raspberry Pi

CEVA to provide IP for all of DARPA Programs

CEVA announced an open licensing agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to to provide support for DARPA programs. The partnership is a part of the DARPA Toolbox initiative. It establishes an access framework under which DARPA organizations can access all of CEVA’s commercially available IPs, tools and support to expedite their programs.

CEVA, Arm and Verific are the first technology companies to sign commercial partnership agreements under DARPA Toolbox. CEVA is a licensor of IP for Digital Signal Processors, AI processors, wireless platforms and complementary software for sensor fusion, computer vision, voice and other key enabling technologies. Key technologies offered by CEVA under this initiative include DSPs and software for 5G baseband processing, short range connectivity, sensor fusion, computer vision, sound processing and Artificial Intelligence.

DARPA Toolbox is a new, agency-wide effort aimed at providing open licensing opportunities with commercial technology vendors to the researchers behind DARPA programs. For commercial vendors, DARPA Toolbox will provide an opportunity to leverage the agency’s forward-looking research and a chance to develop new revenue streams based on programmatic achievements developed with their technologies.

Annapurna develops AWS main processors

Above: Graviton-1 processor entered the market in 2018.

The Graviton high performance family of processors which may replace Intel and AMD chips in AWS cloud, are developed by Annapurna Labs, based in Caesarea, near Tel Aviv. The company was sold to Amazon in 2015 for about $350 million, and since then it worked in a stealth mode. But during the re:invent virtual conference held in December 2020 by Amazon, it was revealed that the Israeli team holds a major role in Amazon’s strategic move into a self-made processors and hardware infrastructures.

Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, said it is a long-term profram. “Our work on chip development allows us to be an innovative. We have excellent relationships with Intel and AMD, and these relationships will continue in the future as well. However, five years ago, we concluded that to bring our cost-performance to the edge, we need to develop ourselves some of the chips. That’s why we acquired Annapurna, and we set them to work. ”

Annapurna to develop additional Graviton processors

Jassy: “We started with the ARM-based Graviton processing chip. Customers got excited about it and used it much faster than we expected. It is a big deal. Today, we continue to invest in the development of new versions of Graviton.” The first Graviton processor came out in 2018 and was based on a 16-nanometer manufacturing process. It was AWS’s first general-purpose processor.

In June 2020, AWS announced the Graviton-2, which provides 40% cost-performance savings compared with Intel’s processor. At the conference call in October 2020, Amazon reported that Netflix uses servers based on Graviton-2. This new 30 billion transistors processor is based on up to 64 Arm Neoverse cores and is manufactured in a 7 nm process.

AWS infrastructure architect James Hamilton said that Amazon had built three dedicated servers based on the Graviton-2 processor: a general-purpose application server, high performance video server and a storage management server. According to Hamilton, it is currently the most powerful and efficient processor in the world operating in the cloud services environment.

Synopsys recently announced that it has uploaded the VCS chip design verification software to the cloud and run it on AWS Graviton-2 servers. Even Amazon plans to use this cloud-based service and has reported that it will use this online software to test its own SoC chips.

Elbit Systems to Acquire Sparton

Above: Elbit’s Seagull Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) during torpedo launching tests

Elbit Systems’ subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, has signed a definitive agreement with Cerberus Capital Management, for the acquisition of US-based Sparton Corporation for a purchase price of $380 million. Headquartered in De Leon Springs, Florida, Sparton is a supplier of Undersea Warfare systems for the US Navy and allied military forces since WWI. Cerberus acquired Sparton in 2019, and in June 2020 it sold its contract manufacturing unit, Manufacturing & Design Services, to One Equity Partners, which rebranded MDS business as Spartronics.

Today the company is comprised of three divisions: Undersea Warfare Solutions (UWS), Aydin Displays, and Stealth. The UWS division provides mission-critical sonobuoys for Anti-Submarine Warfare and depth-rated encapsulated systems to support Subsea and Seabed Warfare. Aydin division provides ruggedized displays for military and industrial use, and the Stealth division manufactures industrial computer components and industrial-grade small form factor PCs.

Naval Warefare is getting closer to Elbit’s expertise

The acquisition is part of a broader strategy of Elbit aimed to expand its reach in the mitiltary naval markets. It estimates that the new battle space scenario demands force interoperability and a net-centric approach to the entire naval fleet. The naval force of the future will be linked so that all personnel and platforms operate jointly to sense, assess and respond to threats. This brings the Naval Warfare closer to Elbit’s current expertise such as Battle management systems, Electronic Warefare, C4I, Autonomous platforms and more.

This growing activity comes in may shapes and forms: In August 2020, Elbit’s subsidiary GeoSpectrum unveiled compact Very Low Frequency (VLF) long-range acoustic underwater transducers that send and recieve transmissions for distances of up to 2500 km and capable to effectively operate under ice. In July 2020, Elbit expanded its Seagull Unmanned Surface Vessel beyond Anti-Submarine Warfare and Mines Countermeasure (MCM), by integrating a mini-Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) onboard the Seagull USV, providing it an intelligence gathering capabilities.

The Seagull autonomous multi-mission USV features switchable, modular mission payload suites and can perform, in addition to ASW, Mine Countermeasure missions (MCM), Electronic Warfare (EW), Maritime Security (MS), Hydrography and other missions using the same vessel, mission control system and data links. It offers navies a force multiplier, reducing risk to human life and dramatically cutting procurement and operating costs.

SolarEdge to Mass produce full EV Powertrains

Above: SolarEdge powertrain kits for buses and commercial vehicles

Since it was established in 2006, SolarEdge Technologies has built a strong reputation of a quality provider of optimized inverter solutions for photovoltaic (PV) systems, bringing it ti a total sales of $338.1 million in the third quarter 2020. But but now the company eyes a much bigger and  competitive market: full powertrain solutions for Electric Vehicles.

This week the company appointed SehWoong Jeong as Chief Executive Officer of its subsidiary, Kokam. Prior to joining SolarEdge, he served as General Manager & Executive VP for Automotive Batteries at Samsung SDI, leading a large scale lithium-ion battery and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) business. Headquartered in South Korea, Kokam is a provider of Lithium-ion battery cells, batteries and energy storage solutions. It was acquired by SolarEdge in 2018.

In June, 2020, it appointed Carsten Schmidt to General Manager of its e-Mobility Division, which was established following the acquisition of the Italian S.M.R.E in July 2019. Carsten has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry, with a focus in electric vehicles, and has held the position of Vice President of Sales in the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Business Unit of Continental AG.

Today, SolarEdge e-mobility division brings to the market a complete powertrain kits for buses and commercial vehicles. It includs electric motors, Lithium-Ion battery modules, High Voltage DC/DC converters, On-Board-Chargers, telematics and more. During the last quarters, it had built manufacturing capacity in Italy that includes an increase in the number of employees, to be prepared to deliver the first batch of full powertrain solutions to a known automotive OEM.

During the earnings call following Q3 results report, the CEO Zvi Lando said the company has made “a meaningful step into the e-Mobility market. During 2020, 10s of electrical vehicles powered by our powertrain units went through an extensive qualification process. In the fourth quarter, we expect to deliver an additional 100-200 kits as mass production is scheduled to begin.” According to his estimation, “SolarEdge will produce thousands of units in the next 6-12 months.”

India’s Navy purchased Smart Shooter’s smart sights to combat chinese drones

Against the backdrop of renewed tensions in recent months between China and India in the eastern Ladakh region, the Indian Ministry of Defence has signed a procurement contract with the Smart Shooter company from Israel in order to purchase the company’s smart shooting system for the Indian Navy. The system is mounted on small arms and zeroes in on the target using AI-based image processing to help the soldier fire accurately. The Indian Ministry of Defence has decided to purchase the upgraded system, Smash 2000 Plus, which is also designed to intercept drones. It was not stated what was the scope of the order and what are the delivery dates.

At a press conference held on December 4 on the occasion of the Indian Navy Day, the navy chief of staff Admiral Karambir Singh said that the acquisition of the Israeli sights was intended to address the possible use of attack drones by China. As part of its military deployment in the area, the Indian Navy also stationed Israel IAI’s Heron UAVs, a Boeing P-i8 naval reconnaissance aircraft and MQ-9B Sea Guardian UAVs from the American General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

The rifle becomes smarter

The Admiral announced that the Navy intends to purchase additional submarines and even aircraft carriers. “The Indian Navy is determined to protect our national interests.” There is a long-standing border dispute between China and India at various points along the Ladakh province of the Kashmir region. In May, against the backdrop of infrastructure work being carried out by India in the Galwan River Valley, the conflict intensified and escalated into an armed conflict in which 20 Indian soldiers and 43 Chinese soldiers were killed. Since then there have been several more incidents in the area and the Indian Army has directed many forces to the area. Although Ladakh is very far from the sea, tensions between China and India may also spill over into the maritime arena.

Smart Shooter was founded by two former members of Rafael’s missile division, CEO Michal Mor and CTO Avshalom Erlich. It has developed the Smash Fire Control System to be mounted on top of every assault rifle using a rail. The system zeroes in on the target using electro-optical sensors and monitors it using AI-based image processing algorithm. An automatic tracking allows the soldier to aim effortlessly, and when the weapon is positioned at the right angle – the trigger is released automatically.

[Pictured above: India’s Coast Guard ships. Photo: Indian Navy]