Volvo, Luminar show massive improvements in lidar technology

Volvo, Luminar show massive improvements in lidar technology

Technology News |
At the Automobility LA trade show in Los Angeles, Volvo and Luminar highlight the enormous progress lidar technology has made. Along with highly advanced perception capabilities, their developments mark a significant step towards autonomous driving.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

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The ongoing development of lidar technology, which uses pulsed laser signals to detect objects, is a crucial element in creating safe autonomous cars. It allows autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments and at higher speeds by providing these cars with reliable long-range perception capabilities.

Technologies such as lidar can help carmakers such as Volvo to make its vision for autonomous travel, as showcased in the Volvo 360c concept earlier this year, a reality. The development of advanced lidar technology and perception capabilities is one of many ways in which Volvo and its partners work towards a safe introduction of fully autonomous cars.

The new perception capabilities being developed by Luminar in partnership with Volvo Cars make it possible for the system to detect human poses including individual limbs such as arms and legs, a level of detail not previously possible with this type of sensor. The new technology is also able to detect objects at a range of up to 250 meters, much further than any lidar technology currently available.


Earlier this year, Volvo took a stake in Luminar via the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, an investment fund that targets high-potential technology start-ups. That investment, the Tech Fund’s first, deepened Volvo’s existing collaboration with Luminar, which focused on development and testing of their sensing technology on Volvo cars. Volvo Cars is the first of Luminar’s partners to fully leverage its expanded perception development platform.

Volvo Cars presented the 360c concept, a holistic view of a future of travel that is autonomous, electric, connected and safe, in September of this year. It imagines four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space – which all reimagine the way people travel. The 360c also introduces a proposal for a global standard in how autonomous vehicles can safely communicate with all other road users.

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