Taiwan III-V IC firms gearing up for car LiDAR demand

Julian Ho, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Taiwan's III-V semiconductor players including foundry Win Semiconductors and epi-wafer supplier Visual Photonics Epitaxy (VPEC) have cut into the supply chains of major carmakers and China's EV vendors by providing ToF-based LiDAR components, and are poised to enjoy strong demand for automotive LiDAR applications, according to industry sources.

Win Semi and VPEC have started shipments of VCSEL chips as light source for ToF LiDAR sensors to some of the world's top-10 automakers and China EV vendors, the sources said. VPEC reportedly has landed big orders for VCSEL epi-wafers for car-use LiDAR applications, with the order volumes equivalent to total annual amounts recorded in 2020, the sources added.

Taiwan III-V supply chain can now offer high-power VCSEL epi-wafers used in both transmitting and receiving ends of automotive LiDAR devices, allowing a light detection range of 200-300 meters, the sources said.

The sources continued there are at least 70-80 Taiwan makers engaged in the development of LiDAR systems seeking to explore immense business potentials, and they now adopt either edge or surface emitting laser as light source.

Leveraging CMOS image sensors alone can hardly materialize Level 5 fully autonomous driving, which can be achieved only through the collaboration of LiDAR, mmWave radar and traditional image sensors, the sources stressed.