The idea of an automated car is starting to advance more and more, and… Funds for the self-driving system are growing every year. By 2022, Volvo aims to implement the Lidar system on all XC90 models and is not alone. But first of all…
What is the Lidar system?
Lidar is the acronym for Light Detection and Raging. The instrument consists of a laser, a scanner and a receiver connected by GPS. Many people are hoping for this project to fully automate the cars of the future. Lidar measures distances through the light emitted by the laser and the reflection obtained by it.
Is Lidar a revolutionary system?
Well, no. The Lidar system has been with us for over 50 years. It is used in the aeronautical industry and for the manufacture of military equipment. For example: It is used by an airplane to measure the distance to the ground. It is also used by military equipment to measure the distance from the weapon and target.
So, Lidar is a system has existed among us for a very long time, and now it is starting to enter the automotive industry. It is assumed that it will be able to help the car to take it to level 5 of automation… In which no human intervention is needed at all.
And yet, what are the 5 levels of automation of the Lidar system?
There are actually six levels. The first will be level 0, in which no automation is discussed. Here, the man will drive the entire vehicle. The next level is one, in which the driver assistance is offered ( this system already exists on the market ). In this case, the system will provide assistance for acceleration and for changing direction.
The next level is partial automated. In this case maneuvers such as acceleration, change of direction and parking are available in an automated system. For each stage, another level of automation will be added. In stage 5 ( the last of them ), the automation will be complete. Here, there will be no need for driver intervention.
When will the Lidar system be adapted to the automotive industry?
Volvo plans to implement this system for all the cars. The prototype for which Lidar is implemented is the the XC90 model. We suspect on this occasion that there are other companies that will use this system.
From what we know at the moment, Volvo and Waymo ( from Google ) are the only ones currently testing the Lidar project for some time.
Although, it’s a project for the future, car automation requires a lot of time and a lot of investment. The car will have to respond quite quickly to the environmental conditions and the other traffic agents. The answers will have to be executed in milliseconds.
However, in the future of the automotive industry there are 3 systems that can be implemented for car automation. It’s the Lidar system ( which we talked about so far ), radar and optical cameras. Each of them will come with pluses and minuses.
What other automation options are there for the automotive industry?
Radar can measure distance up to 200 meters. Although, it is much cheaper than Lidar, it cannot differentiate the details of detected objects. You will not be able to know exactly if a person will be heading or moving away from the vehicle.
Optical cameras ( another way to automate cars ) provide fairly accurate images of what is happening in traffic, but… It does not work at normal parameters, when visibility is no longer good. The way the optical cameras work is very similar to our driver, which we think is not exactly good. The most important thing about car automation is that the tool that automates the car must be superior to the original driver.
As a rental company, we intend to include these car models in our car rental fleet. We are very convinced that it will help customers and give them more free time while driving.
So, as we can see, the Lidar system seems to be the only one able to completely replace the driver and bring a plus.
Thank you for coming with us to the end of this article and we recommend you to see what the first truly electric pickup truck looks like!