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AEye wants the LIDAR system to be ahead of the curve

If you’ve learned everything you know about self-driving cars from Elon Musk’s Twitter feed, you’ve missed a lot.Companies including Waymo (Part of Google) and startups such as Zoox Announced the concept of autonomous shuttles, as are traditional manufacturers including Cadillac And Toyota (it was one of Toyota’s shuttles Collided with a visually impaired athlete During the Tokyo Paralympics last month). And Waymo now allows the general public to call an unmanned shuttle in Phoenix. There is also the world of small businesses working on building hardware that helps self-driving cars, shuttles and delivery bots recognize our world. One of those companies is A Eye, a California-based LIDAR (short for photodetection and ranging). The company has sensors that can detect obstacles (even small obstacles) from very long distances when mounted on a car.

During testing at a facility in Michigan in late June, we saw the current iteration of AEye’s technology working. The Ford Fusion, with the AEye rider mounted on top, was placed near the entrance to a tunnel that you would come across on an urban highway. Upon entering the tunnel, the road turned and AEye personnel placed various obstacles in the shade created by the overhang. Two humanoid dummies and one dog dummies were installed 361 feet apart. Five large bricks were scattered on the 33-foot road past the dummy.

Obstacles were not clearly visible from where we were standing (under the tent next to the car). AEye was aiming to showcase the system’s capabilities in good and bad weather and to install a rainmaker between the car and the tunnel. However, at the time of the test, it was raining heavily in nature, so AEye engineers had to speak out to hear the sound of the water crashing against the roof of the tent.

AEye

LIDAR works by transmitting laser pulses, where the receiver senses the light reflected from the obstacles it encounters and uses that information to identify the location and type of obstacles in the vehicle’s path. Then the weather is important. Driving rain as experienced during the AEye test can theoretically confuse the lidar system. Water can be absorbed Some of the light emitted by the laser leaves both the light and the information that bounces off the system’s sensors.

Watch test video

However, AEye’s system handled the rain well. When the car’s lidar was turned on, the display outside the car (specially set for demonstration) showed the system’s interpretation of the feedback from the sensors. We were able to identify the outline of the tunnel wall and the array of dots that are approximately evenly spaced to indicate the road surface. A sequence of closely spaced dots corresponded to a sheet of rain falling at the entrance of the tunnel. Beyond that, the three clusters of dots showed that the lidar system registered dummies placed in that path. In addition, some more dot clusters represent bricks on the ground.

Sam Abuelsamid, Principal Research Analyst at Guidehouse Insights, said: We will also participate in the AEye demonstration. “What we saw was really impressive,” he added.

Stephen Lambright, AEye’s Chief Marketing Officer, said part of the company’s differences were in the choice to separate the module that sends the laser pulse from the part that receives the laser pulse. According to Rambright, other companies have integrated both functions into one component, so the laser cannot send a new pulse until feedback from the previous pulse is returned. The two-part solution of AEye allows the laser to send more pulses in less time. That is, you can send more data. AEye programmed the system to fill the image of the object in question by sending multiple repetitive pulses to the same area when the laser pulse returned to indicate an object in the path of the car.

AEye also diverged from the crowd in choosing that laser. Use a 1550 nanometer laser, as opposed to the cheaper 905 nanometer laser that many others in the LIDAR world prefer (these measurements refer to the wavelength of light emitted by the laser). To do). Light with a spectrum of 905 nanometers can cause damage to the retina, so these lasers are subject to regulations that limit their output. This is a necessary safety procedure that also limits the distance that obstacles can be detected. Laser used by AEye (Volvo’s LIDAR partner, Luminar with 1550 laser It is also eye-safe and can transmit laser pulses that travel farther than shortwave lasers.

Had the fusion on display actually driven itself, it would have picked up road obstacles before humans could, especially given heavy rain. Seeing trouble on the horizon is half as good as being a good driver. The other part is knowing what to do next. Those problems belong to someone else. AEye designs and designs LIDAR components, but not the autonomous driving system that ultimately powers them. Therefore, the burden of programming the driver assistance system of the car to avoid obstacles is on the partner. Continental will build and license AEye’s system for the automotive market. Other applications include aerospace, construction, mining, and smart city projects.

AEye still faces challenges on its way to widespread adoption, and is probably the most costly of them. According to Lambright, AEye is currently on track to sell modules for about $ 100 per unit, with LIDAR setups assuming a cost of less than $ 1000 per unit.However, AEye’s technology is still in the early stages of development and the trajectory may change, which competitor Luminar states. I already have A production preparation unit for only $ 500.

There may be another obstacle.Federal agencies that regulate self-driving car testing and transportation safety Still confused The best way to regulate self-driving cars, and Tesla is currently under investigation: May lead to a large number of recalls Of the car equipped with the autopilot. So don’t expect the AEye module to appear in your next new car. But the next time you see Elon Musk enthusiastic about artificial intelligence on Twitter, keep in mind that he’s not the only one working on self-driving cars.

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AEye wants the LIDAR system to be ahead of the curve

Source link AEye wants the LIDAR system to be ahead of the curve

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