Will 2022 be the year Lidar takes off?
Will the year 2022 be the year of Lidar's take off, with the emergence of applications as varied as they were and unsuspected applications outside of the autonomous car? The year 2021 marks a turning point with the listing of a dozen or so Lidar companies, all American and Chinese. They now have the means to invest in making products more efficient and more accessible.
Lidar (light imaging and detection and ranging) is a sensor that gives machines 3D perception of their environment. By scanning its environment with a laser beam, it detects objects and people in the vicinity and allows to evaluate how far away they are. It is considered a key instrument for driver assistance systems and autonomous cars. "Compared to other detection devices such as cameras, radars and infrared sensors, Lidar offers the advantage of giving a 360-degree perception of the environment over a distance of several hundred meters, with an important notion of volume for the detection of trucks, for example," estimates Raul Bravo co-founder and CEO of Outsight, a French nugget specializing in Lidar data pre-processing software.
Although Lidar may seem like a revolutionary, state-of-the-art creation, it is a long-standing technology. However, it is a 45 year old technology that was originally developed by NASA and the U.S. Army to track lunar and satellite distances. The first commercial Lidar was used in 1995 in a United States Geological Survey project to map vegetation growth on Assateague Island.
Today, automakers see the technology as the next big step in road safety for autonomous cars.