With this paper we present new 3D sensing technique based on the novel Photonic Mixer Device (PMD), a new generation of smart 3D sensor, which provides a brilliant interface between the world of incoherent light and the world of electronic signal processing. As a new semiconductor device, it combines fast optical sensing and mixing in one component of pixel size by its unique and powerful principle of operation. Based on standard CMOS-technology, it can be easily integrated into PMD sensing arrays, providing both 3D depth and intensity information of the scene. The presented 3D TOF ranging system based on PMD measures the phase and time delay of the back scattered optical signal. The RF- modulated light reflected from the 3D-scene represents the total 3D depth information within the aperture of the PMD receiver. Since the whole 3D-scene is illuminated simultaneously by using intensity-modulated light, the PMD- array on the receiver side performs parallel electro-optical mixing and correlation and delivers an optimal evaluation of time-of-flight and the optical power for each PMD pixel. So there is no scanner required in contrast to the conventional 3D-laser radar systems. The introduction of the PMD into the 3D range sensing technique offers very attractive solutions for the realization of flexible, extremely fast and robust low-cost 3D solid-state smart ranging systems.© (2001) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.