The delays in getting autonomous cars on the road are mentioned often on this site. A “breakthrough” LiDAR technology developed by Argo AI could change all that. It means we could be seeing commercial autonomous vehicles on the road finally, making deliveries and offering side-sharing.
Argo LiDAR Technology
Argo AI introduced Argo LiDAR, which allows the technology to bypass the shortcomings that parked the ideas of autonomous delivery and ride-sharing until now.
Argo’s Self-Driving System (SDS) allows driverless cars to be aware of their surroundings – 360 degrees, day or night. Cars with Argo LiDAR are safe on city streets, suburban neighborhoods, and highways, according to the company’s blog post.
The breakthrough in the Argo AI LiDAR came about when Argo acquired a company developing long-range radar. The resulting LiDAR has a range of 400 meters. This allows dark objects to be detected, and ultra-high resolution perception allows for photorealistic imaging, which allows small objects to be identified.
“Argo Lidar takes us to a whole new level of self-driving technology, unlocking our ability to power both delivery and ride-hail services,” said Argo AI CEO and founder Bryan Salesky. “The Argo Self-Driving System delivers the safety, scale, and service experience that businesses want and their customers demand, especially coming out of the pandemic.”
Applications of the LiDAR Technology
The Argo AI blog post shared the advantages the new LiDAR technology could bring to commercial autonomous driving.
- Safe for use in cities, suburbs, and highways, allowing an easy connection to a warehouse.
- Scaled use in six U.S. cities and Europe will take place this year.
- Service between addresses in urban and suburban areas would help with deliveries.
Argo AI has partnered with Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group to develop commercially-available autonomous vehicles.
“We have unparalleled autonomous driving technology and operations capabilities,” added Salesky. “Proving out these abilities every day, across six cities, from our nation’s capital to Miami to Silicon Valley, we are ready to enable the next phase of growth for delivery, retail, and ride-sharing partners.”
The LiDAR sensor, as part of the Argo SDS, joins custom sensors to allow commercial autonomous cars to:
- See dark vehicles that reflect less than 1 percent of light, even at long range and at night.
- Navigate left turns into oncoming traffic with a 360° view.
- Transition instantly from darkness to bright light.
- Distinguish between small, moving animals and vegetation.
The Argo AI Hardware Development team is working with a manufacturer for production of the LiDAR sensor. The first to be
produced are being road-tested. There are plans with Ford and Volkswagen for widespread commercialization.
To show how long this technology has been in the works, read how Apple was working on it two years ago . And yet, it has no autonomous car on the roads.
Image Credit: Argo AI Newsroom