The VW up! compact car has been using a LiDAR system in its city emergency brake assistant since 2011. However, due to its short range, this brake assist is only used at speeds of up to 30 km/h. On the other hand, the system currently installed by Audi in its premium model A8 can be fused at higher speeds. It allows for automatic travel in stop-and-go traffic up to a speed of 60 km/h.
The currently most powerful LiDAR version – the HDL-64E model from the U.S. company Velodyne – theoretically allows much higher speeds. The entire system with which the test cars of the Google subsidiary Waymo and Uber are equipped, however, is so large that it has to be mounted on the roof of the cars, and the not particularly design-friendly technology comes with a hefty price tag of 85,000 Euro. Such prices are not worthy of discussion for serial applications. The challenge for all manufacturers now is to build an equally powerful and miniaturized system that costs a maximum of 100 to 200 Euro in the first step – and even less in the long term.
The way to this goal is a rigid solid state and thus a cost-effective, robust and scalable laser beam deflection unit. We are expecting LiDAR systems with such a construction to be ready for serial production after 2020. Florian Petit, co-founder and head of product and business development at Blickfeld, is also aiming to enter the market at this time.