Volvo’s forthcoming EX90, which will be positioned above its flagship gasoline-powered XC90, will employ what’s claimed to be the first rooftop LiDAR unit on an international-market passenger vehicle.
From an article in Electronic Design by Murray Slovick.
The most obvious and striking ingredient making autonomous operation possible in the 2024 model is a built-in LiDAR system that continuously scans the environment in front of the car, enabling an accurate estimate of the shape and size of objects in three dimensions. The EX90 will employ what’s claimed to be the first rooftop-mounted LiDAR unit on an international-market passenger vehicle.
The LiDAR, developed by Florida-based Luminar and known as “Iris,” uses a scanning mode with larger scanning mirrors than the more typical MEMS mirrors. Iris’s light source is a 1550-nm fiber laser. The longer wavelength (905 nm is more typical) is said to be harmless to the human eye.
Luminar’s Iris LiDAR will be integrated into the front roofline to optimize for safety and performance, with form following function. The teardrop-shaped housing enables airflow to pass over and creates as little turbulence as possible. Water nozzles at the end of the EX90’s windshield wipers clean the LiDAR’s protective screen.
Inside the Iris
Iris uses pulsed, time-of-flight (ToF) target illumination that Luminar engineers say delivers a very fast measurement rate without speed-dependent range error. It scans a vehicle’s surroundings in real-time, firing laser pulses to create a virtual 3D map, with no need for GPS or a cellular connection. The LiDAR itself has a 120-degree field of view (FoV) and a 26-degree dynamic vertical FoV.
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