LeddarTech provides the first publicly accessible sensor dataset for research and development that includes full-waveform LiDAR data with Leddar PixSet. Markt & Technik spoke to Pierre Olivier, CTO of LeddarTech, about the background and associated expectations.
Markt & Technik: The creation of the Leddar PixSet dataset certainly cost LeddarTech quite a bit of money. Nevertheless, the dataset is made available to research and development free of charge. What is the idea behind this?
Pierre Olivier: True, the creation of the dataset was not really cheap, but we are convinced that this investment will pay off. Because it enables a new form of cooperation and cooperation is part of our company philosophy. This dataset shows that this is not just a statement in a PowerPoint presentation, but that we really mean collaboration.
What do you expect?
Several things. Firstly, autonomous driving is one of the most complex tasks that the automotive industry wants to solve, and I am convinced that no company can do it alone. From my point of view, previous attempts by companies to do everything on their own have led to delays in the introduction of the technology time, and meanwhile no one really believes in new announcements because they are not kept anyway. All in all, this has led to public opinion becoming suspicious of autonomous driving.
We must address this and finally demonstrate success here, and that can only come through cooperation, as I said, since the previous path of wanting to do everything alone has not worked. With our freely accessible dataset, we are promoting cooperation. We want to encourage the academic environment, in particular, to develop new solutions and approaches. Most universities could not afford to create such a dataset themselves, and now with PixSet they have one available for research. But our dataset is also beneficial for commercial partners because it allows them to easily demonstrate their capabilities/technologies to their customers.
Either way, our PixSet dataset enables developers in the field of ADAS and AD technologies to test and develop advanced software and perform simulations without having to assemble new sensor suites and collect their own datasets.
There is also a third aspect: we ourselves have used other academic and commercial datasets, such as the Kitti dataset (a project of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago), for our own developments, and now we are giving back some of what we have received from the community and want to proactively help others as well.
From my point of view, these are the three main reasons that led us to set up PixSet.
To what extent has public opinion towards automated driving deteriorated?
I'm not talking about robotaxis, but private vehicles. Here, with features like autopilot, consumers have been given hope that the technology is mature and will soon be available. And that it is affordable. This hope has not been fulfilled: even today we are still in a range between level 2 and 3 of automated driving. But if I have to keep my eyes on the road all the time because the technology doesn’t work on its own, then it’s superfluous, that’s not what the consumer wants. After all, these functionalities are not about people not wanting to drive as a matter of principle, but rather that they would like to do something different in certain situations. They want technology that, for example, takes over driving in traffic jams or on motorways. And then they want the technology to take over driving completely and not have the driver sitting next to it as a constant watchdog. I am convinced that if the technologies were fully developed and affordable, many consumers would use them. But what is available today is not mature. Today, we are talking about a time horizon of 2025, a few years ago they were still saying that these technologies were already available today. These delays increase mistrust among consumers: these no longer believe that the technology works. This is a problem that needs to be solved and that requires cooperation.