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Now they want to add Lidar to your  next new car…

FRANKFURT — Self-driving cars will need multiple detection systems including expensive infrared “lidar” technology if they are to be safe at high speeds, the CEO of German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen said today.

Stefan Sommer’s remarks come a week after news that a 2015 Tesla Model S crashed into a trailer while on Autopilot mode. Tesla has said it was hard for the car’s cameras to identify the white trailer against a bright Florida sky.

“I have no details about the Tesla accident, so I can’t comment on it,” Sommer told a news conference to discuss ZF’s integration of rival TRW.

But he added cameras relying on visual signals alone were insufficient for safe autonomous driving at high speed.

“For autonomous driving, we will need three core technologies: picture processing camera technology, short and long-range radar and lidar,” Sommer said.

Laser or infrared-based lidar technology will help vehicle sensors pick up contours and contrasts of obstacles which normal cameras are unable to detect, particularly in low light situations, he added.

Lidar technology is currently too expensive to be incorporated in mass production vehicles, but investments into the technology will bring economies of scale will likely lower the costs to a manageable level, Sommer said.

Companies working on lidar technology include U.S.-based Velodyne.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. “Will it become mandatory to buy/use these auto-driving cars because some people can’t/wont drive?”
    It’s true that some people can’t or won’t drive. But not a large number, I believe. If the auto-driver becomes mandatory, it will be because ‘they’ don’t want us to drive.

    • I think you nailed it PTB, they don’t want us peons to drive. If someone can’t/won’t drive there’s always the bus, train, taxi, Uber, etc. Uncle wants to price us off the road so that his elite won’t have much traffic to impede their limos.

      • “elite won’t have much traffic to impede their limos”
        But they won’t be riding in Zils, will they?

  2. Will it become mandatory to buy/use these auto-driving cars because some people can’t/wont drive?

    I guess it is too much to ask people to just pay attention to their surroundings and drive.

    Reminds me of a story (I do not know if it is true) I heard many years ago.

    People knew that pens would not write in space due to lack of gravity. Astronauts needed to take notes while in space.

    The US spent millions developing pens that would write in space.
    The Soviets just had their astronauts use pencils to write notes.

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