August 28, 2020

Mass-market lidar is the future of automotive safety

Lidar will work alongside radars and cameras to advance the future of automotive safety

Read original article at Autonomous Vehicle International

The integration of lidar in consumer vehicles has raised the bar for automotive safety, however, it is sometimes left out of the ADAS (advanced deriver assistance systems) and AV (autonomous vehicles) conversation due to common misconceptions. This can change as lidar deployments in the automotive industry scale up.

One prevailing misconception about lidar is that it is too expensive. While 360° view lidars are still high in cost, directional lidars, which are used in mass-market automotive applications, are targeting volume prices of only a few hundred dollars.

Another concern is whether lidars are reliable enough for automotive applications, but increasing partnerships between Tier 1automotive suppliers and lidar solution providers mitigates budget-related obstacles and ensures durability.

The auto industry should consider including lidar in their ADAS sensor suites, as lidar addresses some of the critical limitations of radars and cameras.

Radars function similarly to lidars, in that they detect the speed and distance of objects in relation to the vehicle. However, automotive radars yield low resolution images and are thus prone to false positives and false negatives. In other words, radars sometimes detect objects that don’t exist or miss objects that do exist. Radars also struggle with providing accurate location data.

Cameras create high resolution images, but also suffer from detectability challenges. Environmental factors such as glare from direct sunlight, adverse weather conditions, and darkness can cause cameras to make false inferences. Also, their 2D imaging capabilities have made them dependent on reference objects and advanced computer algorithms for accurate data on object speed and dimension.

Lidars address these shortcomings because they serve as their own illumination source and deliver high-resolution 3D data in real time. Lidar can detect pedestrians, vehicles, and other objects at long distances, even in darkness, rain, or direct sunlight. For these reasons, lidar is poised to play a huge role in the future of the automotive industry. To learn more, please read this article at Autonomous Vehicle International.

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