Allegro MicroSystems acquires Voxtel
Sensing and power semiconductor technology company, Allegro MicroSystems, is acquiring Voxtel, Inc, a privately held company specialising in advanced photonic and 3D imaging technology including long-range, eye-safe LiDAR.
The acquisition brings together Voxtel’s significant laser and imaging expertise with Allegro’s position within automotive and scale to enable the next generation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Since 1999, Voxtel has been developing solutions for military, space, automotive and surveillance applications. “Allegro is a market leader in magnetic sensors for the automotive market. Annually, we ship more than 1 billion devices into automotive systems – 100 million of which are shipped into advanced automotive safety systems, including semi-autonomous vehicle systems,” says Ravi Vig, CEO of Allegro, in a press release. “Our experience, scale and design for quality uniquely position us to enhance the Voxtel LiDAR portfolio for ADAS applications, aiming to make LiDAR systems safer, cost-effective, and widely adopted features in the cars of the future.” LiDAR typically uses lasers, photodetectors, and read-out integrated circuits (ROICs) with time-of-flight (TOF) capability to measure distance by illuminating a target and analysing the reflected light. LiDAR technology provides the high-resolution, three-dimensional information about the surrounding environment necessary to make fully autonomous driving a reality. It also supports adaptive cruise control, complements car cameras and radar and adds situational awareness. Historically, a barrier to broad adoption of LiDAR technology in vehicles has been the restriction of maximum power output of the laser in order to comply with eye safety guidelines. As a result of this acquisition, Allegro’s photonics portfolio now includes devices made in silicon and InGaAs, providing components for both eye-safe, long-range 1D or 2D scanned front-facing LiDAR and side- or rear-facing FLASH LiDAR. Devices based on InGaAs operate at wavelengths at which the human eye is less sensitive (1500 – 1600nm), enabling higher laser power levels for longer range object detection beyond 200 meters. “We are combining Voxtel’s proven LiDAR technology born out of an impressive history in ranging and space applications, with Allegro’s automotive expertise, world class IC design, proven quality systems, and high-volume manufacturing proficiency,” says Mike Doogue, Senior Vice President of Business Development. “Our OEM and Tier-1 customers will now have access to this advanced technology with Allegro’s assurance of world-class global support and the scale needed to support automotive manufacturing volumes.” In addition to the portfolio of advanced electro-optical solutions, the transaction includes Voxtel’s ongoing business addressing a broad range of applications, including robotics, drones, heavy equipment, mapping/surveying, environmental monitoring, defense, and space exploration; as well as its IP portfolio, including patents and in-process R&D; and an experienced team of engineers and scientists. Voxtel’s President and Chief Executive Officer, George M. Williams Jr., will become Allegro MicroSystems’ Photonics Fellow