Voyant Photonics Funded $15.4M for Development Kits Production in LiDARs 3D Sensing Chip


Voyant Photonics based Long Island City, N.Y. This company manufacturer of light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is a chip intends to perform three-dimensional sensing and estimate range, velocity, and reflectivity. The company’s chips use patented nano-optic approaches to provide a range of imaging sensors for various applications, including freed vehicles, drones, robotics, and factory automation. In addition, they allow businesses to increase safety by providing systems to respond in real-time to changes in the surrounding environment.

Voyant Photonics was funded $15.4 million, led by UP Partners with earlier angel investors, Contour Ventures, and LDV Capital. The startup company plans to use the capital to move toward production by putting its development kits in the hands of partners.

Voyant’s LiDAR system, including thousands of optical parts fabricated on a single semiconductor chip, enables its customers to integrate a functional and exponentially more scalable LiDAR system than possible to date. As a result, LiDAR is a crucial technology to help 3D vision across numerous endeavors, including conveyance, robotics, industrialization, and customer electronics. Voyant developer kits are now public for select customers on its waiting list.

CEO Peter Stern entered the company just as the pandemic started. First, they examined a way to turn a good prototype developed by co-founders Chris Phare and Steven Miller into a working and marketable product. Then, after going back to basics, they ended up with a photonics-based frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) system (go with it for now) that could be manufactured at existing commercial fabs.

Voyant Photonics’ devices demonstrate a complete LiDAR system in a field-deployable package, using Voyant’s patented techniques for on-chip digital beam steering, optical signal processing, and laser control.

Stern said they’d be making about 200 units for partners in 2022 and will start taking retail orders in 2023. Of course, by that time, the automotive world may have taken note. Still, if Voyant’s strategy succeeds, it will have slipped a good piece of the industrial market out of reach of companies making more significant, more expensive units.

By: K. Tagura

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