Cheap lidar sensors are going to keep self-driving cars in the slow lane

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The race to build mass-market autonomous cars is creating big demand for laser sensors that help vehicles map their surroundings. But cheaper versions of the hardware currently used in experimental self-driving vehicles may not deliver the quality of data required for driving at highway speeds. Most driverless cars make use of lidar sensors, which bounce laser beams off nearby objects to create 3-D maps of their surroundings. Lidar can provide better-quality data than radar and is superior to optical cameras because it is unaffected by variations in ambient light. You've probably seen the best-known example of a lidar sensor, produced by market leader Velodyne.


Velodyne Unveils Lower-Cost LiDAR In Race For Robo-Car Vision Leadship

Forbes - Tech

Ford CEO Mark Fields holds Velodyne Puck LIDAR sensor at a press conference at CES in Las Vegas in January. Carmakers and tech firms competing to develop automated vehicles seek a combination of sensors and cameras that provide maximum perception and visibility of surroundings at a cost that's manageable for mass production. Velodyne, a leading maker of laser-based LiDAR, or Light, Detection and Ranging, sensors, says it has designed a new solid-state version of its technology that provides 3D imaging for automated vehicle systems that will cost less than $50 per unit when manufactured at high volume. That's a fraction of the $8,000 cost of its current mechanical spinning LIDAR devices used in prototype robotic cars. The new design "creates a true solid-state LiDAR sensor, while significantly raising the bar as to what can be expected from LiDAR sensors as far as cost, size and reliability," company founder and CEO David Hall said in a statement.


Low-Quality Lidar Will Keep Self-Driving Cars in the Slow Lane

MIT Technology Review

The race to build mass-market autonomous cars is creating big demand for laser sensors that help vehicles map their surroundings. But cheaper versions of the hardware currently used in experimental self-driving vehicles may not deliver the quality of data required for driving at highway speeds. Most driverless cars make use of lidar sensors, which bounce laser beams off nearby objects to create 3-D maps of their surroundings. Lidar can provide better-quality data than radar and is superior to optical cameras because it is unaffected by variations in ambient light. You've probably seen the best-known example of a lidar sensor, produced by market leader Velodyne.


What Self-Driving Cars See

#artificialintelligence

Giant tech companies are fighting over the technology in court. Start-ups around the world are racing to develop new versions of it. And engineers say it is essential to making autonomous cars safe. The obscure object of desire: lidar. "We believe it will be the basis for autonomous driving," said Guillaume Devauchelle, who oversees innovation at Valeo, a major parts supplier to automakers.


Solid state LiDAR to debut at CES (but only for developers)

ZDNet

Innoviz Technologies, which makes LiDAR sensors, announced today that it's bringing an early version of its solid state LiDAR technology to market.