“The advantage that silicon photonics can bring is a small form factor solution, which can result in a compact size of the device in the car at the end,” says Kiyoul Yang, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University who focuses on photonic hardware. Many companies today use a lidar system based on rotating mirrors, Yang says, which requires the manufacture of discrete, expensive components. “If everything can be integrated in a chip in a small form factor, then everything can be produced with a low cost,” he says.