Self-Driving Cars: A Complex Photonic Supply Chain

Monday, September 18, 2017
Optics & Photonics News


Ira Moskowitz, the director of advanced-manufacturing programs with the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative presented at the Frontiers in Optics meeting in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. His presentation was captured in the Optics & Photonics News publication. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"...In addition to its formidable technical requirements, explained Moskowtiz, the self-driving-car revolution will create new and highly complex supply chains and new educational and workforce needs. Together, he suggested, those developments will present “huge challenges.” And that’s especially true for the photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that will drive some of the new vehicles’ core functionalities..."

"...Moskowitz sketched out a byzantine supply chain involving multiple overlapping stages stretching from design through wafer fabrication, testing, probing, assembly and packaging into subsystems and finished products for use by the autonomous-vehicle industry—which, he said will likely prove to be “the most challenging customer base you could ever imagine having to ship into.”

"...Moskowitz also called attention to “the talent side,” and how the drive for autonomous vehicles is creating new requirements for workforce education and training. Automobile manufacturers, he observed, are ramping up to hire literally thousands of employees to support autonomous-vehicle development. “The problem is finding the people to go into those jobs,” Moskowtiz said. And that quandary could prove one of the biggest obstacles to sustainable PIC manufacturing for self-driving cars."

"...He suggested that public agencies such as his organization, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and public-private partnerships such as AIM Photonics could help the process of building such an ecosystem, given the inherently cross-cutting technology domain inhabited by autonomous vehicles. “It’s not simply photonics,” said Moskowitz. “It’s also software, automation, robotics, smart cities, mass transit and regulation.” 

Read the entire Optics & Photonics News article