Mon 09/26/2022 — Better to measure than to interpret.
In April 2019, Elon Musk said that lidar was a non-essential technology, that his cars would not be equipped with it, and that they would be able to drive perfectly autonomously, without this expensive add-on, from the following year. The Tesla boss may have been half right. As of today, in 2022, there is still no lidar-equipped Tesla, but the autonomous driving promised for years is still not available (it will be soon…). However, there is a new fact and that is that Volvo announces that it will generalize the use of lidar to all its future models. This is an opportunity to compare Tesla’s technology to that of a lidar.
Tesla’s self-driving system works with cameras. They send images to the car’s computer, which then has to interpret them. This is another moving car, this is a stationary car, this is a pedestrian, this is a shopping cart that someone left on the road… The computer has to analyze everything that the images show it, and manage the driving based on what you understand. . We can already point out that there have already been accidents, the documented cases evoke cameras dazzled by the sun. Exactly as a human eye can be. A lidar would have prevented this, since a lidar doesn’t see, it measures.
A lidar, an acronym for laser imaging detection and ranging, is a device that sends a beam of light, which reverberates and returns to its point of emission if it encounters an obstacle. And because light travels at tremendous speed, the device is incredibly efficient at drawing a three-dimensional representation of all of the surrounding space. Volvo indicates that its lidar technology is capable of distinguishing a tire, therefore an almost black object, placed on the road, also almost black, at a distance of 120 meters. And it works whatever the light conditions, even if it’s raining, even if it’s snowing.
It is better than any camera, there is no doubt about that. Volvo, a manufacturer concerned about the safety of its products, estimates that the incorporation of this technology should reduce accidents by 9%, and will equip its entire range with it. The first Volvo to receive a lidar will be the large SUV EX90, which will be presented in 6 weeks.
laurent j masson
Lidar is an expensive technology. Would you be willing to pay more for an equipped car?