Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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70 unmanned systems inside October/November 2017 GROUND DRIVERLESS CARS making a smart play to position itself in that market. Now the question is whether you can really wait two years to start making a map. And how many sensors does it take to update that map in real-time?" Sensors: Autonomous Vehicle Foundation Whether the autonomous vehicle market takes off in a few years will depend on not only sensor prices dropping dramatically, but what combi- nation of systems will be used by developers. "The commoditization of perception sensors will allow the self-driving car industry to ex- perience a revolution similar to the growth of computers in the 1970s and 1980s," said Bobby Hambrick, AutonomouStuff CEO. "The pric- ing of sensors will significantly decrease, for production and research and development, starting now and much more in the upcoming two to three years." One of the major sensors for autonomous vehicles, LiDAR, is coming down in price, which will be attractive to developers. "LiDAR sensors are higher priced today due to limited unit volumes, usually less than 10,000 units," said Mike Jellen, Velodyne's president and COO. "That said, per-unit costs for LiDAR sensors can be quoted today at much more attractive prices when increased to automo- tive production volumes. Essentially, carmak- ers committing to production programs are receiving great LiDAR sensing pricing." LiDAR's use as one of the main autonomous sensors will continue as sensors create 3-D images at 200 meters versus cameras that, in relative terms, have limited range and field of view, Jellen said. "Furthermore, cameras are susceptible to changing light conditions and shadows. This could be problematic for commuters traveling during dawn and dusk, as an example," he said. "Meanwhile, LiDAR sensors operate well in most lighting condi- tions, and in fact, LiDAR sensors operate well without any lighting at all." Velodyne said they were working with 29 of 30 car and technology companies registered to test on public roads in California. In addition, underscoring the importance of the technol- ogy, Velodyne last year received a $150 million Photos courtesy of Uber and Waymo. Uber is working on self-driving cars at its Advanced Technology Group (ATG) Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Waymo's investments in LiDAR have reportedly cut the cost of the technology by 90 percent.

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