Autonomous car manufacturers are betting on LIDAR, but price and legislation slows its progress

Autonomous cars can take advantage of the qualities of LIDAR sensors to better understand the road conditions on which they travel, but the industry is faced with several obstacles that slow its implementation.

The automotive industry continues to bet on LIDAR technology to develop its autonomous cars. However, they face several obstacles that slow the growth of this industry, as indicated in a new report from Digitimes Research.

Leading auto component manufacturers welcome collaborating with LIDAR sensor developers. These sensors are responsible for launching pulses of light to determine the distance of the objects in front of you and thus make a 3D map of the sceneThis is a very necessary component for autonomous cars to see obstacles and know where to drive.

Digitimes Research highlights the great variety of agreements that have been reached in the industry between different companies to promote this technology. Valeo, the French automotive component supplier has spent seven years helping German specialist Ibeo start the mass production of such sensors for sedans. Hyundai Mobis and CarTech Veoneer have also teamed up to help Velodyne expand the production volume of these sensors.

Hyundai wants to improve the autonomous driving of its vehicles as much as possible and for this it hopes that its learning is not based solely on what is implemented in the factory or the data that comes standard, it wants the car to learn from the driver himself how to act.

However, although the companies are positive, they encounter a large number of obstacles that, they say, slow down the advancement of this technology and autonomous cars. Regulations regarding smart vehicles are not yet sufficiently advanced in many countries. Only Japan has gone ahead and already allows autonomous cars with level 3 to circulate through its streets.

This legislative blockade causes many companies to plant their investments in this sector. Audi would be considering canceling its Tier 3 vehicles. General Motors, Ford, Hyundai and Volkswagen are also interested in launching Tier 4-5 autonomous driving robotaxi cars with LiDAR devices by 2022, while Honda, Lexus, BMW and Volvo are also developing autonomous vehicles with LiDAR to have a level 3 of autonomy.

At this level, drivers continue to have much of the vehicle’s control, but they are already able to analyze their surroundings and make decisions. Tesla is the company that has previously achieved this level of autonomy with its Autopilot system. However, they have not used LIDAR sensors due to their high cost, they have opted for a machine learning and artificial intelligence solution It uses all the data collected by the many cars of the brand that are already on the roads around the world to continue learning.

This is another of the impediments that the sector faces high prices that LIDAR sensors still have and that could increase the cost of cars. Currently unit prices are still above $ 200.

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