To know more about the 3rd generation of Valeo’s LiDAR
An interview with Clément Nouvel, Valeo LiDAR Technical Director
LiDARs are essential to the development of the autonomous car and the drastic road safety improvements that come along.
Up to 30% of premium new vehicles are set to reach level 3 automation by 2030, and to do so will be equipped with LiDAR technology. As well as cars, robotaxis, delivery droids, autonomous trucks or vehicles for industrial and agriculture sectors will come equipped with this technology. Clément Nouvel is LiDAR Technical Product Line Director and leads over 300 engineers fully dedicated to developing this innovative sensor technology. We spoke with him to know the basics about Valeo’s LiDAR technology in 3 questions and answers.
Can you tell us what a LiDAR is and what it is for?
LiDAR stands for “Light Detection And Ranging”. To put it simply, it works in a similar fashion as a Radar, but instead of using radio waves it uses light beams in order to build a 3D picture of the environment. Using this picture, our LiDAR sensor detects all kinds of objects around the vehicle, classifies and tracks them: this operation, largely based on Artificial Intelligence technologies, is called the “perception layer”.
The outstanding perception capability brought by LiDAR technology is enabling an increasing number of innovative applications, among which the autonomous mobility revolution.
Could you explain what is the particularity of a LiDAR that differentiates it from other sensors?
A LiDAR is an active sensor, which means that it sends its own signal in order to sense the environment. This makes it a perfect sensor to detect objects in very dark conditions as much as full sunlight.The fact that it uses light as the principle of distance measurement allows it to combine radar’s ability to precisely measure distance and camera’s ability to distinguish different objects thanks to its high resolution. This is why, in essence, LiDAR is considered as the key sensor technology to push the boundaries of road safety and eventually make full autonomous driving possible.
What does our 3rd generation LiDAR have in addition to other LiDARS?
We have designed our third generation LiDAR to accurately detect debris or small objects on the highway more than 150 meters ahead (and large objects beyond 200m). While our second generation was able to safely handle similar hazardous situations in traffic jam speed (60 to 80 km per hour), our third generation goes beyond and will support autonomous driving up to 130 km per hour.
To achieve this sensing capability improvement, we have increased the resolution 17-fold, the range 3-fold and the viewing angle 2.5-fold.
Today, no other LiDAR is capable of delivering this level of performance in automotive grade and mass production.
Valeo, is the global leader in driving assistance systems (ADAS) that enable vehicles to see, sense and understand their environment so that they can move around safely.