Features of the long-range lidar
The lidar technology (light detection and ranging) is fundamental for automated driving. Before safe automated driving can become a reality, another sensor principle is needed in addition to radar, video and ultrasonic for a reliable environment detection. The laser-based distance measurement technology is indispensible to make automated driving robust, reliable and available. Only the parallel deployment of three sensor principles ensures that automated driving will offer maximum safety when it is rolled out. This has been confirmed by Bosch analyses: For example, if a motorcycle approaches an automated vehicle at high speed at a junction, lidar is needed in addition to camera and radar to ensure the reliable sensing of the two-wheeler. In this instance, radar can struggle to detect the bike’s narrow silhouette and plastic fairings. Moreover, a camera can always be dazzled by harsh light falling on it. As such, there is a need for radar, camera, and lidar, with the three technologies complementing each other perfectly and delivering reliable information in every driving situation.
In lidar systems, the sensor emits laser pulses and captures the laser light that is scattered back. The system then calculates distances based on the measured time it takes for the light to bounce back. Lidar offers very high resolution with a long range and a wide field of vision. As a result, the laser-based distance measurement tool can reliably detect even non-metallic objects like rocks at a great distance. Thus there is plenty of time to initiate driving maneuvers like braking and swerving. Because Bosch can draw on its sensor expertise and systems know-how in the fields of radar and camera technology when developing the lidar, the company can ensure that all three sensor technologies dovetail with each other. Bosch’s long-range lidar will not only fulfill all safety requirements for automated driving, it will also enable automakers to efficiently integrate the technology into a very wide range of vehicle types in the future.
The Bosch long-range lidar sensor is designed to solve critical, complex use cases such as the detection of free space. It is capable to detect small objects at large distances to allow for comfortable braking and therefore safe and predictive automated driving at higher velocities. Moreover, the sensor is perfectly developed to detect not only small, but also fast-moving objects such as motorcycles in crossroad scenarios. When the lidar detects two objects close to each other, for example a pedestrian next to a guard rail, it can differentiate those two object classes.