Volvo isn’t bringing any cars to the Los Angeles Auto Show, but that hasn’t stopped the company from using the event to showcase what they’re calling the “most advanced LiDAR sensor and perception capabilities to date.”
Jointly developed with Luminar, the system is designed for use in autonomous vehicles and its high-tech LiDAR sensors can detect objects up to 820 feet (250 meters) away. This more than two football fields in length and Volvo notes the range is “much further” than any existing LiDAR technology.
As Luminar CEO Austin Russell explained, the range is almost ten times greater than some existing LiDAR sensors and this mean they could be used on autonomous driving vehicles travelling at highway speeds.
The system isn’t just capable of seeing further than rivals as it’s also more perceptive and detailed. As Volvo noted, the system is capable of detecting “human poses including individual limbs such as arms and legs – a level of detail not previously possible with this type of sensor.”
This level of detail is impressive and it’s likely that the technology will improve safety. Volvo didn’t go into specifics, but it means autonomous vehicles could detect an outstretched arm such as someone attempting to hail a taxi.
In a statement, Volvo’s senior vice president for research and development said “Autonomous technology will take driving safely to a new level, beyond human limitations. This promise to improve safety is why Volvo Cars wants to be a leader in autonomous drive.” Henrik Green went on to say “Luminar shares our ambition in making those benefits a reality and this new perception technology is an important next step in that process.”