Volvo plans on using LiDAR in its next generation of self-driving cars, scheduled to begin production in 2022.
LiDAR is a technology that uses lasers to scan the environment, creating a highly accurate, 3D map of the surroundings. Best of all, LiDAR enables devices to map the environment without an internet connection. In 2018, Volvo invested in Luminar, a Florida-based firm specializing in LiDAR technology, and now the company plans to put it to use in self-driving cars.
“Soon, your Volvo will be able to drive autonomously on highways when the car determines it is safe to do so,” said Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars. “At that point, your Volvo takes responsibility for the driving and you can relax, take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Over time, updates over the air will expand the areas in which the car can drive itself. For us, a safe introduction of autonomy is a gradual introduction.”
“Volvo is recognized as the pioneer of automotive safety, having driven standardization across the industry for the most advanced life-saving technologies,” said Austin Russell, founder and CEO of Luminar. “The next era of safety lies within autonomous driving and once again, Volvo has taken the lead with a major industry milestone. We’ve solved the key cost, performance, and auto-grade challenges to make series production possible, and alongside Volvo are making the technology available to the world.”
One of the biggest challenges automakers have is convincing people to trust self-driving technology. With Volvo’s track record for safety, however, the company will likely have customers lined up to purchase their LiDAR-equipped vehicles.