Especially on the motorway, driver assistance systems with lidar sensors provide more safety because they navigate precisely regardless of the weather. Dr Thomas Luce from MicroVision explains which properties lidar sensors need in order to be suitable for use at high speed.
Safe driving of the next generation requires innovative standards that significantly exceed the current level. Lidar technology (Light Detection and Ranging) has a special role to play here. This is because it enables the automated detection, recognition and categorisation of objects in road traffic. In this way, it removes one of the central hurdles in autonomous mobility as an effective method of environmental detection.
Lidar solutions must address a number of challenges and ensure maximum safety - especially at high speeds, as is usually the case on motorways. The solutions must also be able to cope with all conceivable weather and light conditions. And finally, they should have a well thought-out hardware and software architecture to provide important data quickly.
The market offers a wide variety of lidar solutions for this purpose. They differ in specific performance characteristics such as latency times, density of the point clouds or the wavelengths of the lasers used. While some hardware-based systems simply combine the technologies of different suppliers as if in a construction kit, other solutions offer an integrated, combined approach of hardware and software. The latter is based on a mature and well thought-out architecture that promises a plus in performance, higher reliability and additional security.
Car manufacturers must be able to rely on high-performance lidar solutions, as these play an important role in the further development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). In doing so, they are not least paving the way to Level 5 of autonomous driving.
When selecting a suitable lidar solution, OEMs should therefore consider a number of key factors: For example, the supplier should have many years of experience in the development of modern lidar technologies as well as a global network of strong partners who also offer high-quality lidar components. Only in this way can a supplier ensure maximum reliability, specifically address the OEMs' specific requirements and always provide the best products on the market.
Another important aspect concerns security: hacker attacks and cyber threats are increasing dramatically, especially in the environment of networked vehicle technologies. To prevent sensitive data from being manipulated, it must be optimally shielded from the outside world. For this reason, lidar technology should be completely encapsulated so that algorithms, laser control and MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) run in parallel via a single ASIC. This way, the data is optimally protected against hacker attacks.
And finally, performance is also a decisive criterion. OEMs need lidar solutions that enable safe driving even at very high speeds. This is the only way that manufacturers can make optimal use of the systems for state-of-the-art ADAS and autonomous vehicle technologies. To ensure this high level of performance, the system must function exactly according to the developer's specifications. With an application-specific ASIC solution, a synchronised product is created that meets the OEMs' requirements one-to-one and reliably ensures safety at high speeds.
MicroVision has demonstrated how these new standards can be met in comprehensive test scenarios: The combination of edge perception software and innovative hardware was able to demonstrate very high accuracy in the detection of obstacles. This worked especially well at high motorway speeds and under the influence of changing light conditions.