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LiDAR solutions for autonomous vehicles

LiDAR solutions for autonomous vehicles

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging to range and detect remote object, using a light source and receiver. Most vehicles are currently equipped with one of multiple driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, park assist. These systems still assume the driver is fully engaged and able to quickly take back control when needed. The next step is to move from assistance to autonomous, here the driver is no longer required to be alert at all time. SAE classifies this as level 3 and higher. The car can fulfill its mission without any human intervention, or alerts the driver when control needs to be taken over again. 

This step towards autonomy requires the introduction of many new components and software, upgrading the sensors allowing the car to ‘see’ its environment is a critical one.

Level 3+ requires LiDAR

Level 3+ requires LiDAR

Current driver assistance systems rely on either cameras, radars or a combination of both. As the table shows, none of them (individually or combined), provide a satisfying performance level for full autonomy. As human supervision is also no longer an option, sensor redundancy needs to take over this supervisory task. The introduction of LiDAR enables full autonomous driving, as it is the sole technology that accurately determines the vehicle’s position on the map, and allows for long-range object detection and identification. The fusion of LiDAR with camera, radar, and later on V2X allows for sufficient redundancy.
 

As LiDAR is an emerging technology, its maturity, cost and footprint still needs to improve. ams’ VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) portfolio allows its customers to make a step function improvement in these three areas.