Luminar Technologies has announced its lidar design. The company claims its design will make autonomous vehicles both safe and scalable. It uses a laser operating at a standard and eye-safe 1550 nm wavelength but incorporating an InGaAs-based receiver. The company claims to have made a number of breakthroughs which has lowered the cost of the InGaAs-based receiver, which is usually considered too expensive for mass-market applications.
Luminar’s lidar can see 50 times greater resolution and 10 times longer range than current systems, which means that at 200 meters, it can detect hard-to-see, low-reflectivity objects on the road, and offers a full seven seconds of reaction time at 75 miles per hour. While the currently deployed systems can only see such objects at less than 35 meters, which offers less than one second of reaction time when the car is running at average highway speeds.
The company has been selected for testing by four major autonomous vehicle programs, it expects to make deliveries to its strategic partners later this year.