Self-driving technology startup Aurora announced today its new in-house developed frequency modulated lidar system for its driverless vehicles. The lidar sensor is called “FirstLight” and it can see and track objects more quickly and from further away than other lidar sensors, Aurora claims.
From an article in FutureCar by Eric Walz.
Lidar is an acronym for “light detecting and ranging” and works by bouncing pulses of lasers off objects and measuring the time the light takes to reflect back to the sensor. From this, a 3D image can be rendered of the object, whether its a tree, person or another vehicle.
The technology is an important sensor for the development of autonomous vehicles, acting as the “eyes” of the vehicle for navigation. Most self-driving vehicles in development have a roof mounted lidar that rotates, sending pulses of light 360 degrees around the vehicle to identify nearby objects and creating a 3D view of the surroundings.
Lidar is also an essential sensor being used in vehicle advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), such as automated cruise control, collision avoidance systems and emergency braking systems offered, all of which are offered on many new vehicles today.
Aurora’s FirstLight Lidar will be used on Aurora’s next-generation test vehicles. The company says that its FirstLight lidar will allow its self-driving vehicle perception systems to see and track objects that are faster moving and farther away with greater precision than the standard lidar systems available today.
Aurora said it needed a longer range lidar for its “Aurora Driver” autonomous driving software and hardware stack, but it didn’t exist yet. So the company acquired lidar pioneer Blackmore in 2019 and the two companies co-developed the FirstLight lidar for Aurora’s specific needs.
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