Volvo Cars and Luminar have demonstrated the most advanced LiDAR sensor and perception capabilities to date at the Automobility LA trade show in Los Angeles.
The ongoing development of LiDAR technology, which is based around a 1550 nm laser source to detect objects, is a crucial element in creating safe autonomous cars. It allows autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments and at higher speeds by providing these cars with reliable long-range perception capabilities. Technology such as LiDAR can help cars to reach the vision for autonomous travel, as showcased in the Volvo 360c Concept earlier this year, a reality. The development of advanced LiDAR technology and perception capabilities is one of many ways in which Volvo Cars and its partners work towards a safe introduction of fully autonomous cars.
The new perception capabilities being developed by Luminar in partnership with Volvo Cars make it possible for the system to detect human poses including individual limbs such as arms and legs, a level of detail not previously possible with this type of sensor. The technology is also able to detect objects at a range of up to 250 meters, a much further range than any LiDAR technology currently available.
Earlier this year Volvo Cars took a stake in Luminar via the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, an investment fund that targets high-potential technology start-ups. That investment, the Tech Fund’s first, deepened Volvo’s existing collaboration with Luminar, which focused on development and testing of their sensing technology on Volvo cars. Volvo is the first of Luminar’s partners to fully leverage its expanded perception development platform. The company presented the 360c concept, a holistic view of a future of travel that is autonomous, electric, connected and safe, in September. It imagines four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space – which all reimagine the way people travel. The 360c also introduces a proposal for a global standard in how autonomous vehicles can safely communicate with all other road users.
A special virtual reality station demonstrating the 360c and Volvo Cars’ vision of autonomous travel was also featured at the Automobility LA event.