When costs drop, lidar will be for everyone

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, lidar will be the great enabler of new capabilities in cars, including, of course, driverless cars. Price is the largest barrier, with the 64-laser unit 360-degree scanning lidar system on the Google driverless car costing between $75,000-$85,000.

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According to a July 21 article in the Wall Street Journal, lidar will be the great enabler of new capabilities in cars, including of course, driverless cars. Price is the largest barrier, with the 64-laser 360-degree scanning lidar system on the Google driverless car costing between $75,000-$85,000 in it's current, limited-production manifestation. The lidar unit is made by Velodyne Lidar (Morgan Hill, CA).

According to the article, "flash lidar" (no moving parts, a single laser, and an image sensor) made by companies such as ASCar (Santa Barbara, CA; no website yet) will cost $15,000 in 2015, and drop to $500 or less when embedded in mass-market cars. The article also notes that TriLumina (Santa Rosa, CA), which make semiconductor lasers for lidar systems, hopes to drop its costs tenfold by 2016, to $150 per laser.

See this related article: Better laser diodes, arrays is goal of startup TriLumina

As applications have multiplied, we've been covering lidar with ever-increasing frequency at Laser Focus World. I think you'll find that these articles portray a technology that offers something for everyone:

Lidar: Single-photon lidar yields rapid topographic and bathymetric coverage

Lidar-equipped, light-carrying drones create optimum 'rim lighting' for moviemakers

Wind energy gets a boost from wind-turbine lidar

MIT researchers demonstrate single-photon lidar-like system

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