The Land Rush for LIDAR Companies
Last month's OIDA Market Update and OIDA newsletter featured the market for LIDAR equipment, which has grown even hotter since then. In the last month, GM's Cruise Automation unit bought Strobe and Ford's Argo AI unit bought Princeton Lightwave. Other notable deals include Uber's acquisition of Tyto Lidar, Ford and Google's investment in Velodyne Lidar, Continental's acquisition of ASCar's LIDAR division, and Infineon's acquisition of Innoluce. The Reuters news agency counted more than $700 million of investments into development of LIDAR systems for cars. This is big.
Does this land rush for LIDAR intellectual property and expertise mean self-driving cars will be in show rooms soon? Not quite. It takes several years to optimize the LIDAR, other sensors, and fusion of integrated sensors to move closer to demonstrate full self-driving capability. Then it takes a few more years to move from a design to production in a retooled factory. After clearing all these hurdles, it will then take time for consumers to buy in. In 2015, Boston Consulting Group forecast that full Level 5 self-driving capability would not be fully commercial until 2025, increasing to 10% adoption a decade later. (Level 5 is full hands-off driving in all conditions. No driver is needed.)
|Source: Boston Consulting Group, available here.
There can be car models with Level 3 or Level 4 capability before then, and Boston Consulting estimates that the market for partially and fully autonomous vehicles will be $42 billion by 2025. Level 3 means a driver can operate the vehicle "hands free" but must be present to take over with sufficient warning. Level 4 means no driver is necessary for special applications, such as in a controlled environment.
Meanwhile, Waymo is suing Uber for allegedly using trade secrets from Waymo's LIDAR technology for Uber's own self-driving car development. Waymo is the former Google's self-driving car operation, now operating under Google's new parent, Alphabet. Waymo specifically accused a former Google engineer, Anthony Levandowski, of stealing the technology for his own start-up company, Otto, which he sold to Uber for almost $700 million. Levandowski has since left Uber, but the lawsuit remains. Waymo will be looking closely at other startup companies formed from former Waymo employees.
|GM's Chevrolet Bolt 1st generation self-driving car design from its Cruise Automation unit.
And that's not all. Complicating this are the myriad of investments among collaborators and competitors. For example, while Alphabet's Waymo division is suing Uber, Alphabet's GV unit (formerly Google Ventures) has been an investor in Uber, and Alphabet's CapitalG unit recently invested in Lyft, Uber's competitor. Got that? We may need a roadmap!
For the OIDA Market Update section on the LIDAR market, see here. See also the item on this topic in last month's OIDA newsletter here.
Expanding Photonics Roadmapping at IPSR-AIM Photonics
The AIM Photonics roadmapping effort added more international input into its process at this year's fall meeting, held 10-12 October. It also included a tour of the SUNY Polytechnic fab, with buildings and equipment valued at $20 billion. Most of the facility is used by IBM for chip R&D; AIM uses about 10%. Attendance at the event was good, with about 180 attendees spread over 2 1/2 days. Note that the event addresses an external roadmap; it is not AIM's internal plan.
|Exterior of the 300-mm wafer fab. The overall facility has a value of $20 billion.
The IPSR roadmap evolved out of the MIT Microphotonics Center Communications Technology Roadmap, transitioned to the PSMC, and then IPSR, led by Lionel Kimerling of MIT and Bob Pfahl, formerly of iNEMI. It is funded by AIM Photonics. The IPSR has changed its name this year to IPSR International, to reflect a more international scope. OIDA is on the advisory committee for this effort.
With the roadmap and a process in place, now is a good time to include other voices, especially with a cluster forming around the InP effort in the Netherlands, the silicon effort at IMEC in Belgium, the packaging effort at Tyndall Institute in Ireland, and other important efforts in Europe. Moreover, while AIM’s focus on assembly is a challenge shared by everyone, much of AIM’s attention is on silicon wafer fabrication. InP has received less attention in the IPSR vision for integrated photonics.
The IPSR team went to Europe last summer to expand the dialogue. Without sizeable players in integrated photonics like Infinera, Intel, Luxtera, and Cisco, Europe looks primarily to small companies for ideas and its private sector project funding. AIM, on the other hand, looks to both large and small companies for its private sector support. And with so much activity in optical communications today, the AIM roadmap naturally focuses much of its consideration around that topic.
AIM is now offering wafer runs, has added circuit elements to its library, has some worthwhile consortium projects, began a good training program through the AIM Academy, and is buying equipment for the Rochester Test Assembly and Packaging (TAP) facility. The Rochester facility will be the only open 300-mm wafer test and assembly facility in the world, with nearly $100M to be spent or contributed in renovation, tools, and capitalized labor. AIM will be bringing it up piece by piece and it should be fully operational at the end of 2019.
The old 300-mm wafer IBM integrated photonics fabrication is now operating under Global Foundries, down the road from the AIM facility. AIM has licensed technology to Global, so that designs can be transitioned from AIM pilot lines to Global’s volume runs. And, both Global and AIM are investigating III-V quantum dots on Si as a monolithic laser process.
Amr Helmy of the University of Toronto gave an update on progress with on-chip plasmonic modulators. The devices are temperature insensitive and compatible with CMOS. A breakthrough was optimizing the field confinement. It is a fresh topic, and a conversation starter.
OIDA will continue the discussion of integrated photonics manufacturing by once again hosting a workshop collocated with OFC2018 in San Diego on 11 March 2018. Partnering with OIDA and CIAN this year are IPIC (Ireland), Photon Delta, and AIM Photonics.
|A session at the AIM Photonics IPSR International fall roadmapping meeting.
Promoting a National Quantum Initiative
On 24 October, the U.S. House of Representatives brought together advocates of funding for quantum technology, with members from both parties showing great interest in the topic. Two subcommittees of the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held the hearing, titled American Leadership in Quantum Technology. The purpose of the hearing was to identify where the U.S. currently stands in the international race to the development of commercially available quantum-based technologies, particularly quantum computing. Many of these quantum technologies would involve photonics, particularly quantum communications (which includes quantum cyptography) and quantum sensors.
Chris Monroe testified on behalf of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), of which OSA is a co-founder. The NPI released a white paper in June calling for a National Quantum Initiative, including a request for $500 million of research funding over 5 years. Dr. Monroe is from the University of Maryland, and a startup company, IonQ. The hearing also included representatives from IBM, U.S. government agencies, and academia. OSA member Carl Williams testified on behalf of NIST.
Before the hearing, OSA member Michael Raymer, from the University of Oregon, met with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), also a member of the House committee. During the hearing, the congresswoman recognized him as a special guest.
OIDA has posted six U.S. and European reports on quantum technology to its website, available here. To watch the hearing, click here. See also the written hearing testimony, NPI National Quantum Initiative white paper, and the NPI press release. For questions, contact Laura Kolton, OSA's senior director of government relations, here.
|Testifying left to right: Scott Crowder (IBM), Christopher Monroe (University of Maryland and IonQ, Inc.)
and Supratik Guha (Argonne National Lab and University of Chicago).
Welcome New OSA Industry Development Associates (OIDA) Members
AIM Photonics CEO meets with NPI Steering Committee
Michael Lier, Executive Director of AIM Photonics, visited with the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) Steering Committee to provide an update of recent activities. The NPI played a key role in advocating for the creation of a photonics manufacturing institute..
|Front row: Jennifer Douris, SPIE Government Relations Director
Krisinda Plenkovich, Director Education and Community Services, SPIE
Eva Sevick, NPI Steering Committee Member
Laura Kolton, Senior Government Relations Director, OSA
Liz Rogan, CEO, OSA
Back Row: Jason Mulliner, NPI Steering Committee Member
Eugene Arthurs, CEO SPIE
Michael Lier, CEO AIM Photonics
Jim Oschman, , NPI Steering Committee Member
Ed White, NPI Steering Committee Chair
Phil Bucksbaum, NPI Steering Committee Member
Networking at the 19th Annual Photonics Clambake
OIDA co-sponsored a networking Clam Bake in Rochester on 17 October. Social events are a great way to create and foster new business partnerships and nurture existing ones, and there's no better place to do both than OIDA's networking functions.
|Left to Right: Liz Rogan, OSA Chief Executive Officer, Kari Smith, OSA Director of Exhibit Sales,
Russ Lowe, Vice President of Sales, Sierra Precision Optics, and Tori Urge, Marketing Manager, Optimax
Invitation to OIDA C-Level Executive Forum at OFC on 12 March
Attend Executive Forum, held in conjunction with OFC, and take part in a unique discussion on the future of optical networking and communications that will help you grow your business and make informed strategic decisions. Network with more than 200 industry leaders as they discuss and debate technological advances and business opportunities. OIDA Members will receive a special discount and can bring a colleague for free. Mark your calendar for 12 March. Information coming later this month.
Unique Career Opportunity – OSA Congressional Science Policy Fellowships
Combine your interest in policy with your science background. Apply for the 2018-2019 OSA Congressional Science Policy Fellowships. Congressional Fellows spend one year on Capitol Hill working as legislative assistants on the staff of a member of U.S. Congress or Congressional Committee. Applicants must have a Ph.D. by the start of the fellowship, 1 September 2018, to be eligible. Mid- and late-career applicants are also encouraged to apply. In addition to being a great opportunity for young professionals, it is also an ideal way to spend an academic sabbatical or leave of absence from a company. Deadline to apply is 5 January 2018. To learn more about eligibility and application requirements, visit the Congressional Fellowship webpage.
Design, Analyze, Fabricate, Integrate, Align, and Measure with Engineering and Lab Notes from Applied Optics
Engineering and Laboratory Notes (E&L Notes), from Applied Optics, highlight laboratory methods and best practices technicians and specialists can utilize for the design, analysis, fabrication, integration, alignment, and measurement of optical components and systems. These techniques of the trade can lead to further innovations as well as networking opportunities for both authors and readers. E&L Notes Editor Brian Monacelli sums up the initiative here.
Applied Optics recently published these E&L Notes:
View all of the published E&L Notes here.
- Geometrical optical transfer function: is it worth calculating? by José A. Díaz and Virendra N. Mahajan
- Nondestructive determination of optical properties of a pear using spatial frequency domain imaging combined with phase-measuring profilometry by Xueming He, Xiaping Fu, Xiuqin Rao, and Feng Fu
- Dependence of plasmon coupling on curved interfaces by Yuan Ni, Caixia Kan, Juan Xu, Yang Liu, Haiying Xu, and Changshun Wang
- Design of direct-vision cyclo-olefin-polymer double Amici prism for spectral imaging by Lei Wang, Zhengzheng Shao, Wusheng Tang, Jiying Liu, Qianwen Nie, Hui Jia, Suian Dai, Jubo Zhu, and Xiujian Li
Share your techniques: Applied Optics continues to seek E&L Notes to publish. Get your techniques published in a prominent venue. Submit yours today.
Find Your Perfect Job or Candidate Now on WORKinOPTICS.com
The Optical Society's (OSA) online job board, WORKinOPTICS.com connects leading employers, qualified job and internship seekers and consultants within the optics and photonics community. Whether you're searching for a job, someone to fill a job, or exploring career options, WORKinOPTICS.com is a reliable global resource that can help you to make valuable connections in industry and academia.
OSA Industry Development Associates member companies get 20 free job postings! Learn more and join other OIDA members who have found new hires on WiO. "Optonicus has connected with highly qualified candidates with strong skill sets through the Work-in-Optics website, and we look forward to connecting with future team members as our business grows" Tom Tumolillo, Jr., COO of Optonicus
Invitation to Join the LinkedIn Optics and Photonics Industry LinkedIn Group
Join 3,000+ of your colleagues in our Optics & Photonics Industry Network LinkedIn Group. This one-of-a-kind Forum for Industry lets you participate in discussions about cutting-edge issues. Extend your professional network. Exchange information about problems, ideas and solutions. Collaborate with experts in your field. Now is the perfect time to build a relationship with fellow optics and photonics professionals!
Take advantage of your OSA Industry Development Associates (OIDA) Member Benefits
We are committed to ensuring the value of your OSA Industry Development Associates Membership, so please email OSA if you have any suggestions for new programs or comments on your membership.
Forward this message to your colleagues.
Not yet a member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.
|OSA Industry Development Associates (OIDA) Committee
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
|• Alex Fong,
Gooch & Housego, Chair
• Claudio Mazzali,
Corning, Inc., Chair-Elect
• Henrik Skov
• Simin Cai,
|• John Dexheimer,
• Fred Leonberger,
• Mike Mielke,
• Martin Seifert
|• Costel Subran,
• Christoph Harder,
Harder and Partner