Time-of-Flight

Compared to the other 3D techniques, Time-of-Flight (ToF) is the most suitable for applications that need flexibility in operation. For example, a ToF system can be mounted on a moving robot or used for measuring changing distances using its factory calibration (depending on the setup). The system can also be adapted to any operational setup making a ToF system well suited for use in complex environments and conditions.

Time-of-Flight is also the best candidate for applications where you have fast moving scenes and need reliable real-time decisions at several distance ranges (including long distances). With ToF systems, no heavy computation is required that may lead to latency and less detection accuracy of a non-determined scene. Our ToF systems provide real time image information with fast response times and no motion blur. They are also robust, compact and cost effective since they are a solid-state design, which uses less power and requires less computation.

How Does Time-of-Flight Work?

A Time-of-Flight imaging system emits pulses of IR light and measures how long the light reflected from the objects in the scene takes to come back to the system.

In the case of an indirect ToF imaging system, the system measures the distance by calculating the phase differences of the light waves when they are emitted to the object and when they bounce back. This allows the system to build a 3D map. ToF systems provide users with a greater amount of information in a wide range of challenging conditions for a variety of applications.

Applications

Time-of-Flight makes reliable real-time decisions in complex conditions and changing environments.

Warehouse/Logistics Management

Monitor full racks and detect the right goods

Pick and Place Robots

Detect and identify the right object to be picked and placed

Robots for Factory Automation

Measure the size/volume of a box/package for production efficiency

Factory Safety

Monitor and detect dangerous situations in an area or between humans and robots

Construction/Building Mapping

Map the whole scene in a few acquisitions for 3D reconstruction or a virtual tour

Robot Navigation

Helps robots to navigate autonomously and safely

Automotive

Measure the safety distance to avoid collision and help autonomous vehicles to navigate autonomously and safely

Surveillance/ITS

Identify the vehicle characteristics for free flow tolling, tracking and enforcement

The Main Challenges in Time-of-Flight Applications

Our offer is focused on professional markets where application requirements are challenging and difficult to solve with the commodity Time-of-Flight sensors that are available on the consumer market. Our products have been specifically designed to address the current Time-of-Flight challenges including:

Best use of Light Power

Fast and Reliable 3D Information of Fast Moving Scenes without Motion Artefacts

Robust to Ambient Light

Ability to go to Mid-and Long-Range

On fly configuration change for real time decision-making

Use Multiple ToF Systems without Interference

  • Because of our multiple tap per pixel innovation technology, our sensors can minimize motion artefacts and optimally use light power
  • ToF is intrinsically a very high dynamic range application and increases with the square of the distance, and linearly with the reflectivity range. When long distances are combined with a wide reflectivity range, it can easily lead to applications needing to manage more than 80dB of linear dynamic range. Our sensors are unique in providing on-chip features to handle this, enabling unparallel trade-offs between key ToF application parameters such as distance & reflectivity range, precision and FoV, etc., and minimizing motion blur, enabling you to go to mid/long range distances and to adapt in real-time to operation conditions.
  • Innovative multi-system management is also embedded on-chip to avoid interferences between ToF systems working simultaneously.

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Our Time-of-Flight Expertise & Capabilities

With over 10 years of Time-of-Flight experience, Teledyne e2v provides customers with technology solutions ranging from: CMOS image sensors and customised camera modules, right up to full system integration support. This includes a reference design of our evaluation platform, all system-level dimensioning, light & optics assessment, eye safety consideration, modelisation and simulations, algorithms and calibrations. This helps customers to shorten their time-to-market and get the best ToF system to fit their application requirements.

3D Innovation Lab

At our Grenoble site, we have developed a laboratory specifically dedicated to 3D Time-of-Flight sensors and systems. This is a fully compliant laser safe 100m² dark room which is coated to avoid reflection in NIR & visible light. Among other key elements, it’s equipped with a software controlled 10m motorized bench, a set of calibrated targets, and a specific illumination source to emulate operation under direct sunlight. The 3D Innovation Lab is used to perform live demos for customers and to characterize and calibrate our 3D Time-of-Flight sensors and systems. It is also essential to emulating application-level test cases, so we can effectively validate our customers’ requirements as well as developing and contributing to the standardization of distance measurements based on ToF techniques.

Customer Support

Evaluation Kit

A camera module with a near infrared light source and optics aimed at showing the sensors ability to perform distance measurements based on pulsed Time-of-Flight technology from short to mid-range distances. It has been designed to be highly flexible so you can evaluate the sensor in multiple configurations and operational cases.

Reference Design

It contains the schematics of the PCB and the source code of the Evaluation Kit including FPGA and embedded software. It has been designed to be a working reference to support your system development, enabling you to save valuable time and resources and significantly improve your time to market.

ToF Modelling

We have developed a Time-of-Flight model which, based on your inputs, simulates for your specific conditions the precision vs. the distance, the average and peak like power to obtain a certain precision, the achievable frame rate, and the eye-safety, etc. It precisely matches real measurements and is helpful to support application-level assessment, system-level dimensioning and sensor and system level customization, both for existing or custom sensors.

Local Support

We have a strong, local, and direct technical support team that is spread all over the world and available in your region to help you during your design.

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