Lidar Not Needed on Driverless Cars

As a follow-up to last week’s post on low cost, driverless car navigation this article in EE Times explains that Ford is financing the research. There is good news and bad. It does not look like lidar sensors are going to be used on the production vehicles. However, highly detailed 3D databases are going to be needed which will most likely be derived from lidar data collections.

University of Michigan professor, Ryan Eustice, told EE Times, “Once the lidar reference map is derived, only a single forward looking monocular camera is needed to use the localization framework. Hence enabling low-cost applications of this technology.”

The researchers claim the technique gives them centimeter accuracy for up to $10,000 less than the expensive 3D laser scanning technologies used by others researching self-driving cars such as Google. The key is to create a real-time self-driving map by making thousands of comparisons per second between a survey 3-D map stored in the car’s system or streamed over the cellular network.

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