A pair of ex-Apple engineers with links to the company’s secretive Project Titan autonomous car project have just developed a next-generation LiDAR system that’s more advanced than those from other tech firms.
Dubbed 4D LiDAR, the system comes from California startup Aeva, which was co-founded by Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk. Unlike other LiDAR systems being developed, Aeva’s solution is housed within a tiny box mounted to a vehicle’s roof, The Verge notes.
Whereas traditional 3D LiDAR systems send out pulses of light to measure the distance of objects, Aeva’s technology uses a continuous laser. This allows the system to gather information more quickly. The data is then retrieved and processed faster than traditional LiDAR. The company says its system captures not only depth and visual information but also performs positional tracking and captures velocity.
“Our 4D LIDAR tech can measure the depth, reflectivity, and velocity in a single laser shot, all instantaneous. No need to spend time looking at frames,” Rezk said of the system.
Importantly, Aeva’s technology hasn’t been designed as a complete self-driving system. Instead, the company wants to sell its small 4D LiDAR to company’s which would be able to easily incorporate it into existing self-driving software. This means you won’t be able to slap the Aeva box on your roof and enjoy a hands-free ride.
The company was only formed last year and recently secured a $45 million round of funding. Rezk and Salehian claim that some automakers already know about Aeva’s LiDAR and are taking it into account when designing upcoming models with autonomous driving functionality.