Thursday, February 5, 2015

Have you heard about Phantom Intelligence yet?

If you haven’t, I bet you will. Phantom Intelligence is a startup that is looking to revolutionize LiDAR for automotive. I hadn’t heard of them either until QNX and Phantom Intelligence found themselves involved in a university project in 2014. They had some cool technology and are just all-around good guys, so we started to explore how we could work together at CES 2015. One thing led to another and their technology was ultimately featured in both the QNX reference vehicle and the new QNX technology concept car.

I knew little about LiDAR at the beginning of the partnership. But as I started to ramp up my knowledge I learned that LiDAR can provide valuable sensor input into ADAS systems. Problem is, LiDAR solutions are big, expensive, and have not, for the most part, provided the kind of sensitivity and performance that automakers look for.

Phantom Intelligence is looking to change all this with small, cost-effective LiDAR systems that can detect not just metal, but also people (handy if you are crossing the street and left your Tin Man costume at home) and that are impervious to inclement weather. As a frequent pedestrian this is all music to my ears.

I am still in no way qualified to offer an intelligent opinion on the pros and cons of competing LiDAR technology so I’m just going on the positive feedback I heard from customers and other suppliers into the ADAS space at CES. Phantom turned out to be one of the surprise hits this year and they are just getting started. That’s why I think you will be hear more about them soon.

Both QNX vehicles showcased at CES 2015 use a LiDAR system from Phantom Intelligence to detect obstacles on the road ahead.

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