Aug 28, 2021

An ‘Uncrashable’ Car? Luminar Says Its Lidar Can Get There

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

As a recent New York Times article highlighted, self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than many experts initially predicted. Automated vehicles where riders can sit back, relax, and be delivered to their destinations without having to watch the road are continuously relegated to the “not-too-distant future.”

There’s not just debate on when this driverless future will arrive, there’s also a lack of consensus on how we’ll get there, that is, which technologies are most efficient, safe, and scalable to take us from human-driven to computer-driven (Tesla is the main outlier in this debate). The big players are lidar, cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radar. Last week, one lidar maker showcased some new technology that it believes will tip the scales.

California-based Luminar has built a lidar it calls Iris not only has a longer range than existing systems, it’s also more compact; gone are the days of a big, bulky setup that all but takes over the car. Perhaps most importantly, the company is aiming to manufacture and sell Iris at a price point well below the industry standard.

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