Autonomous vehicles Laser Scanning Lidar Technology

Embrace the ‘Dark Side’ with LiDAR Detectable Colors

image of Embrace the Correct Paint
Embrace the Correct Paint

Vehicles with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and higher-level autonomous driving systems use LiDAR to detect objects in the environment. For high resolution 3D mapping, an object will need to reflect Near Infrared (NIR) radiation in order that the LiDAR system can determine its location and movement. To optimize NIR detection, one needs to embrace the NIR reflectivity behavior of the color and therefore the pigments used in the color.

The BASF Colors and Effects® brand offers a broad range of organic, inorganic and effect pigments to many industries for the coloration of materials. Through continuous research activities into pigments for future automotive technologies, an extensive knowledge of the visible and NIR absorption behavior of all different pigment types, has been built up. As a result, our technical experts can provide formulation approaches for color shades throughout color space, pastel or chromatic, that are highly NIR reflective.

Currently, a major challenge for color formulators when considering LiDAR detectability, lies with color shades that are formulated using carbon black. Not only does this pigment absorb across the whole visible region (400 to 700nm) to provide the desired black color, but it also absorbs strongly across the whole NIR wavelength region (700 to 2500nm). Clearly, the amount of carbon black in a formulated color influences the extent to which NIR will be absorbed. However, even small quantities in a formulation, used in light or pastel colors, will strongly reduce the NIR reflectivity of an object.To overcome the inherent NIR absorption of carbon black, Spectrasense™ Black NIR transparent pigments and Sicopal® Black NIR reflective pigments have been developed. These pigments when formulated into a color as a replacement for carbon black, will strongly increase the NIR reflectivity of the colored object.

By following the link Functional pigments for autonomous environments | BASF Colors & Effects ( you can access more information about these NIR management pigments and how they can be formulated into color shades that significantly increase the NIR reflectivity of an object. Alternatively, please feel free to contact me directly: My name is Dr. Paul Brown – I work as Innovation Manager for Organic Pigments for BASF’s Colors & Effects® brand and I would be happy to discuss your requirements and how our pigments can be used to manage and embrace your NIR reflectivity requirements.

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