How lasers navigate self driving vehicles #technology #innovation #vehicles #travel #autonomous

The “near” future of automotive travel is self-driving vehicles and there is some debate about on the tools used to enable this automation whether via cameras or a technology called “LIDAR.”

“Lidar works much like radar, but instead of sending out radio waves it emits pulses of infrared light—aka lasers invisible to the human eye—and measures how long they take to come back after hitting nearby objects. It does this millions of times a second, then compiles the results into a so-called point cloud, which works like a 3-D map of the world in real time—a map so detailed it can be used not just to spot objects but to identify them. Once it can identify objects, the car’s computer can predict how they will behave, and thus how it should drive.

Here’s how it works

Velodyne

Velodyne is one of the more affordable and compact LIDAR units that is being used by Ford, Volvo and the Chinese auto maker, Baidu for their self-driving vehicles.

Learn more here

Comment

The technology is impressive and will be part of our everyday lives in some form there is no question. Usually a technology shift like this is driven by demand or by society’s need to make change. We don’t recall when the world’s community actually called for robots to take on the task of driving us around though…

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