http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/will-agile-sensor-technology-surpass-lidar/article/510736

Will agile sensor technology surpass LiDAR?

Posted Dec 23, 2017 by Tim Sandle
The competitive race to develop the optimal vehicle sensor technology for self-driving vehicles could be embarking on a new course with ‘agile sensor technology’, which is presented as more accurate, efficient and safer than LiDAR.
Visualization of section of Sierra Nevada  forest structure developed by the SNAMP  Spatial Team usi...
Visualization of section of Sierra Nevada forest structure developed by the SNAMP Spatial Team using Lidar data.
University of California Cooperative Extension Forestry
Autonomous vehicles are set to become the norm, although there are varying predictions about when this great revolution in transport will happen. Key to development of self-driving vehicles is the need for sophisticated navigation, camera and mapping systems. Despite advances in technology there remain concerns about safety. New sensor technology aims to combat this.
The new sensor technology is presented by a startup that specializes in robots and automation. The company is AEye (based in Pleasanton, California, U.S.). The company has been working on intelligent data collection, which works through a new type of optical sensors.
As is the norm the technology has its own variant acronym - iDAR. This stands for “Intelligent Detection and Ranging.” The focus with this technology is on rapid dynamic perception and path planning. The developers say it is suitable for both self-driving vehicles and for robots.
The technology is made up of several components, including micro-optical mechanical (‘MOEMS’) LiDAR. This comes connected with a low-light camera plus embedded artificial intelligence. It is this combination, the AEye developers say that will allow for dynamic real-time adaptions, which are seen as critical for vehicular safety on the highway.
In addition, the iDAR can deliver better accuracy and further range than current LiDAR (Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging) technology designs. The developers also think that the technology will be cheaper to produce than comparable LiDAR systems.
AEye have told Smart2Zero that their system overcomes deficiencies with conventional LiDAR, which under samples critical information such as fast-approaching vehicles. AEye’s technology is conceived from the basis of human perception, copying how the human brain processes information.
In related news, the technology company Velodyne has produced a LiDAR sensor that has improved resolution, range, and field of view. The system consists of 128 laser beam and it could become the new industry standard. See the article “New high resolution LiDAR becomes more affordable.”