The market for self-driving cars is heating up as autonomous vehicle programs like Tesla, Uber, Waymo and Apple are in the quest to stand out. But, the good news in this space is the unveiling of a state of the art sensor by Aeva.
Aeva, a California-based start up, founded by ex-Apple engineers, Salehian Soroush and Mina Rezk (both worked on Apple’s special project division), claims that its new sensor is a better version of LIDAR and is superior to others found in self-driving test vehicles.
According to Salehian, the sensor is “a mix of hardware and software that does a superior job of capturing data about its surrounding”.
How does Aeva’s new 4D LIDAR sensor work?
The box-like sensor is not responsible for self-driving computations. Rather, it is a device that is packed full of cameras, motion sensors and LIDAR. It is designed to collect data and inform the autonomous driving system.
The sensors continuously sends light out and when the light bounces back, it transmits the data captured (objects, pedestrians and vehicles) to the autonomous driving system in a 3D map format. In other words, it provides accurate visual information and tracking for self-driving cars to see the road properly.
Mina describes the process aptly in his words, “our 4D LIDAR tech can measure the depth, reflectivity and velocity in a single laser shot, all instantaneous”. Similarly, the sensor measures distance of objects as well as velocity in order to predict their movements.
However, It should be noted that for higher levels of autonomous driving, you would need more than one box. They can be attached to the roof of the car, one at the front and the other at the back.
The device also comes with a reflectivity sensor that enables it to work in the dark.
While Aeva will continue to revel in its latest technology, it is only a matter time before competitors respond with their own next level sensors for self driving cars. In the meantime, we wait with our fingers crossed.