LiDAR ‘critical’ for highly automated vehicles, but cost remains a challenge

Since the start of modern autonomous vehicle (AV) development, LiDAR technology has been at the core.

These sensors send out pulses of light to capture the reflection of objects in the local environment. By judging the speed of light returned, the sensor can tell exactly how close these objects are. It is similar in some respect to a hand-held laser finder, but the difference with LiDAR is that a large number of lasers and detectors perform this on a full 360-degree scale. Millions of data points are gathered each second, and ultimately create a picture of the vehicle’s surrounding environment.