How Does LIDAR Work?
How does a sensor that has 360 degree vision and accurate depth information work? Simply put: a LIDAR sensor continually fires off beams of laser light, and then measures how long it takes for the light to return to the sensor.
By firing off millions of beams of light per second, the measurements from the LIDAR sensor enable a visualization of the world that is truly 3D. You can infer the exact measurement of any object around you (up to around ~60m, depending on the sensor)
A Brief History of LIDAR
To understand why there’s so much support behind LIDAR today, it’s important to look at other similar technologies which have similar goals.
The original depth-sensing robot was the humble Bat (50 million years old!). A bat (or dolphin, among others) is able to perform some of the same capabilities as LIDAR using echolocation, otherwise known as Sonar (sound navigation and ranging). Instead of measuring light beams like LIDAR, Sonar measures distance using sound waves.
After 50 million years of biological exclusivity, World War 1 advanced the timeline of the first major deployment of man-made Sonar sensors, with the advent of submarine warfare. Sonar works excellently in water, where sound travels far better than light or radio waves (more on that in a second). Sonar sensors are in active use on cars today, primarily in the form of parking sensors. These short-range (~5m) sensors enable a cheap way to know just how far that wall is behind your car. Sonar hasn’t been proven to work at the kinds of ranges a self-driving car demands (60m+).
Radar (radio direction and ranging), much like Sonar, was another technology developed during an infamous World War (WW2, this time). Instead of using light or sound waves, it instead utilizes radio waves to measure distance. We make use of a lot of Radar (using Delphi sensors)…
Overview of the global automotive light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors market
Technavio’s market research analyst predicts the global automotive light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors market to grow at a high CAGR of more than 34% by 2020. LiDAR sensors are widely used to automate driving of vehicles through obstacle detection and avoidance, which would enable safe navigation. With almost all the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier-I players working towards automated driving, LiDAR technology occupies a very prominent position in achieving level 3 and level 4 in vehicle automation. Car manufacturers such as Delphi, Continental, Bosch, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Google are working to expand the autonomous driving concept and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) systems in vehicles. With the increasing shift towards self-driving or unmanned vehicles, the application of automotive LiDAR sensors will witness a huge surge in the coming years.
Owing to the evolution from infotainment concept to telematics features in vehicles, functionalities such as ADAS and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2X) are gaining wide significance. The growing technological advancements in driverless cars have necessitated the use of efficient safety features besides infotainment, security, and performance efficiency. With regulations mandating several safety aspects, consumer demands are also pressurizing the OEMs to offer new technology-enabled features such as radar sensors and blind spot monitoring. Favorable government regulations that promote road safety will enhance the deployment of ADAS in autonomous vehicles. Additionally, the emerging V2X connectivity will play a vital role in achieving autonomous driving, and spur the adoption of ADAS and subsequently LiDAR sensors in vehicles.
Segmentation by application and analysis of the automotive LiDAR sensors market
- Autonomous driving
The automotive LiDAR sensors market for autonomous driving will register a high CAGR of more than 230% by 2020. LiDAR has gained wide acceptance in autonomous driving applications as an inherent component in automated vehicles, which is driven by a reduction in price points. Major OEMs and Tier-I players are coming up with autonomous car technologies which will boost the sales of LiDAR sensors. Also, the rapid shift towards Levels 3, 4, and futuristic 5 vehicle automation will positively impact the growth of the automotive LiDAR sensors market which is expected to deploy self-driving capabilities in the vehicles.
read more and download the report from technavio.com