Volvo believes in the capabilities of LiDAR technology, and plans to commercialize it.
The fundamental principle of an autonomous car is that it must perceive the road and other obstacles such as the driver’s human. Currently, no car is totally autonomous is not available for sale, there are only semi-autonomous. To make an autonomous vehicle there are many technologies, including LiDAR (Light Direction and Ranging), which has already been implemented on test vehicles, but never for sale. It is precisely here that Volvo intends to make a difference.
The Swedish manufacturer aims to commercialize vehicle embarking the LiDAR. Yet, if to this day no manufacturer has been able to use this calculation method for vehicles of the series, it is well that there are reasons. For a start, the LiDAR is extremely expensive, but also it imposes constraints in terms of design. Indeed, it must be hard to sell cars with large domes and cumbersome on the roof.
As a concrete example, Elon Musk the CEO of Tesla, has simply refused to use the technology, not hesitating to qualify it as ugly. ” The LiDAR is a crazy race. Anyone who relies on the lidar is condemned. Condemned ! [They are] sensors expensive that are not needed. It’s like having a bunch of appendages are costly. As if an appendix was bad, and now you have a bunch, this is ridiculous, you’ll see. “
Despite the statements of Elon Musk about the LiDAR, it is necessary to recognize that this technology offers a detection 360-degree impressive, it has the merit to be exploited. It is in any case the way of thinking of Volvo.
The builder has pushed his research to eventually find the startup american Luminar, which is able to produce installations LiDAR at a price relatively accessible, and especially to incorporate the technology as unobtrusively as possible on a vehicle.
As you can see on the image to the a, Volvo has managed to integrate LiDAR technology very quietly, making it almost as large as a fire stop. So yes, this setup is not able to see 360 degrees, but we can imagine that the same module is in the rear to monitor the vehicle ride.
Volvo has stated that the first vehicles equipped with LiDAR technology should be marketed as early as 2022.
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