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Autonomous Driving without a Burden: View from Outside with Elevated LiDAR

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The current autonomous driving architecture places a heavy burden in signal processing for the graphics processing units (GPUs) in the car. This directly transforms into battery drain and lower energy efficiency, crucial factors in electric vehicles. This is due to the high bit rate of the captured video and other sensing inputs, mainly due to Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor at the top of the car which is an essential feature in todays autonomous vehicles. LiDAR is needed to obtain a high precision map for the vehicle AI to make relevant decisions. However, this is still a quite restricted view from the car. This is the same even in the case of cars without a LiDAR such as Telsa. The existing LiDARs and the cameras have limited horizontal and vertical fields of visions. In all cases it can be argued that precision is lower, given the smaller map generated. This also results in the accumulation of a huge amount of data in the order of several TBs in a day, the storage of which becomes challenging. If we are to reduce the effort for the processing units inside the car, we need to uplink the data to edge or an appropriately placed cloud. However, the required data rates in the order of several Gbps are difficult to be met even with the advent of 5G. Therefore, we propose to have a coordinated set of LiDAR's outside at an elevation which can provide an integrated view with a much larger field of vision (FoV) to a centralized decision making body which then sends the required control actions to the vehicles with a lower bit rate in the downlink and with the required latency. The calculations we have based on industry standard equipment from several manufacturers show that this is not just a concept but a feasible system which can be implemented.


Elon Musk calls self-driving laser sensors 'lame' at Tesla's Autonomy Day

Mashable

As Elon Musk made clear Monday, the technology most of his competitors in the self-driving car space use to help vehicles detect what's around them is lame. And his option is way better. "LiDAR is a fool's errand," he quipped about the laser-emitting tool that, in the simplest terms, acts as eyes for autonomous cars. "Anyone who is relying on LiDAR is doomed." That's pretty much most of the businesses testing self-driving cars, including Waymo and Uber who went to court over LiDAR technology last year.


Volvo Takes Stake In Laser Vision Upstart Luminar, To Use Its Sensors In Self-Driving Cars

Forbes - Tech

Lidar maker Luminar says its sensors generate the highest-resolution images currently available for autonomous vehicles. Luminar, a maker of laser lidar sensors that self-driving cars need to see their surroundings in 3-D, will supply the latest versions of its technology to Sweden's Volvo Cars, which is also investing in the Silicon Valley startup. Led by 23-year-old optics wunderkind Austin Russell, Luminar will provide both its hardware, combining the lidar sensor and cameras, and new perception software that helps the artificial intelligence driving Volvo's vehicles more rapidly interpret copious amounts of sensor data flowing in. The investment in Luminar by Volvo Cars Tech Fund is "significant," according to Russell, though neither he nor the automaker is disclosing the amount. "This is a partnership with Volvo Cars to power their autonomous vehicle development effort with our lidar sensing platform at its core," Russell, who founded Luminar in 2012 while still in high school, told Forbes.


Laser Vision Upstart Luminar Snags Volvo Funds And Lidar Deal For Its Robot Cars

Forbes - Tech

Lidar maker Luminar says its sensors generate the highest-resolution images currently available for autonomous vehicles. Luminar, a maker of laser lidar sensors that self-driving cars need to see their surroundings in 3D, will supply the latest versions of its technology to Sweden's Volvo Cars, which is also investing in the Silicon Valley startup. Led by 23-year-old optics wunderkind Austin Russell, Luminar will provide both its hardware, combining the lidar sensor and cameras, and new perception software that helps the artificial intelligence driving Volvo's vehicles more rapidly interpret copious amounts of sensor data flowing in. The investment in Luminar by Volvo Cars Tech Fund is "significant," according to Russell, though neither he nor the automaker is disclosing the amount. "This is a partnership with Volvo Cars to power their autonomous vehicle development effort with our lidar sensing platform at its core," Russell, who founded Luminar in 2012 while still in high school, told Forbes.


Velodyne Lidar Announces Three-Year Sales Agreement with Baidu

#artificialintelligence

Velodyne Lidar, Inc. announced a three-year sales agreement with Baidu for its Alpha Prime lidar sensors. The Alpha Prime sensors will be utilized for autonomous applications. Velodyne's low-cost, high-scale manufacturing delivers attractive pricing for Baidu and its Apollo partners. Baidu and Baidu's Apollo program, an open-source autonomous vehicle software platform, selected the Alpha Prime for its range, resolution and field of view that collectively address the high-performance requirements for autonomous vehicles. Quality 3D lidar vision is a critical component for autonomous vehicles to accurately perceive the environment.