Lidar is a version of radar that uses laser light instead of radio waves to measure distance and although it may seem like a new technology, it’s been around since the 1960s. It’s come to greater prominence recently as it’s been used as one of the sensing technologies both for 3D mapping and driverless cars. Jamie and Todd find out more about lidar from Wolfgang Juchmann, Director of Sales and Marketing at Velodyne LiDAR.
Velodyne LiDAR has been a leader in developing lidar technology, bringing down both the size and price of the lidar units over the past ten years. What previously was the size of a trash can, costing $80,000, is now the size of a large food tin and costs $8,000. As sizes and prices continue to drop, the cost and practicality of autonomous vehicles becomes more feasible, with lidar building high resolution 3D maps of the world around the car. The on-board computer can use the 3D information to tell the difference between cyclists and buildings, and control the car on the road avoiding other road users.