Technology

Waymo to sell lidar sensors to lower cost of self-driving vehicles

Posted on March 6, 2019

The company says that by offering the lidar to partners it will help spur the growth of applications outside of self-driving cars and also propel its business forward.
Waymo
The company says that by offering the lidar to partners it will help spur the growth of applications outside of self-driving cars and also propel its business forward.
Waymo

Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, announced that it will sell its Laser Bear Honeycomb 3-D lidar sensors to select partners.

The Laser Bear Honeycomb is a perimeter sensor, which Waymo says in a blog post is the same sensor around the bumper of self-driving vehicles.

Features listed by the company include:

  • Wide field of view: Where some 3-D lidar have a vertical field of view (FOV) of just 30 degrees, the Honeycomb has a vertical FOV of 95 degrees, plus a 360-degree horizontal FOV.
  • Multiple returns per pulse: When the Honeycomb sends out a pulse of light, it doesn’t just see the first object the laser beam touches. Instead, it can see up to four different objects in that laser beams’ line of sight (e.g., it can see both the foliage in front of a tree branch and the tree branch itself).
  • Minimum range of zero: The Honeycomb has a minimum range of zero, meaning it can see objects immediately in front of the sensor. This enables key capabilities such as near object detection and avoidance.

The company says that by offering the lidar to partners it will help spur the growth of applications outside of self-driving cars and also propel its business forward. It added that it can ultimately scale its autonomous technology faster, making each sensor more affordable through economies of scale.

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