Audi’s Autonomous Intelligent Driving teams up with Luminar for advanced LiDAR
19 December 2018
Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH, a a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi AG and the center of excellence for urban autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group—announced a partnership with Luminar Technologies Inc. to deploy its LiDAR technology.
Since launching in March 2017, AID has been scouting the best complementary LiDAR solutions in the market that can support the depth sensing demands of the autonomous driving test fleet currently driving in the city of Munich.
Having started out just last year, our aim is to work with the best brands within the industry to accelerate our vision that will be realized across the entire VW Group. Perception remains a bottleneck today for autonomous mobility and we quickly worked to find the most powerful sensors to make the perception task easier. That’s where Luminar comes in—the technology is clearly above the pack in terms of range and density, which is important for solving the most challenging problems in autonomy.—AID chief technology officer, Alexandre Haag
The LiDAR unit is a preeminent piece in AID’s Autonomous Driving stack, because of its ability to see any object, known or unknown, moving or not, at a far distance and in any lighting condition. Luminar LiDARs will be placed on the roof of the vehicle and used for forward-facing high fidelity and long-range perception.
They will be complemented with additional sensing LiDAR technologies for short range and side-looking visibility around the vehicles, as well as radars and cameras, ensuring a 360-degree field of view around the car with redundant sensing coverage to enable AID’s safe autonomous driving fleet.
AID uses proprietary software and deep learning-based approaches to process all the sensing modalities such as LiDAR point clouds, camera pixels, and radar echoes. This perception data models the vehicle’s environment, both near and far, by detecting objects, vehicles, pedestrians and other challenging obstacles.
AID is an ideal partner for Luminar with the backing and resources of the world’s largest OEM, while maintaining a fresh software-minded spirit of a high-growth startup. Together, our teams are able to achieve rapid development with an agile, hands-on approach—combining hardware and software expertise to enable autonomous mobility service by 2021.—Luminar founder and chief executive officer, Austin Russell
Founded in 2012, Luminar today has a 400+ person team across three offices in Palo Alto, Colorado Springs, and a 125,000 square foot production and manufacturing facility in Orlando. Luminar is funded by Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Canvas Ventures, GVA Capital and 1517 Fund. Luminar is currently working with a growing number of the top OEMs and autonomous vehicle programs including Toyota Research Institute, Volvo Cars and Autonomous Intelligent Driving.
Lidar is a lovely sensor, particularly when combined with video (for colour) and radar (to see through rain, snow, fog). My only worry would be the cost.
Might have to be used for "working" vehicles first (i.e. taxis).
On the other hand, in the luxury sector, people could pay quite a bit (say 10-20K) if it really worked and you could drive safely on motorways (allowing the driver to sleep).
People already pay a lot for bigger engines and higher quality leather in their A8's and 7 series's, which is more or less pointless - so why not pay for something useful, like autonomous driving.
Posted by: mahonj | 19 December 2018 at 09:37 AM
For working vehicles it could cost $150k and overtime it could be a beneficial cost savings.
Drivers are expensive... They pose a huge liability and lack 24/7 availability /productivity.
The only arguments I hear against autonomous vehicles are moral dilemmas or that they are unsafe.
Like if it's driving down the road and has to choose between killing jaywalking children or a guy running the red light or the family in front of them.
We have the tech its just gotta be smaller and cheaper before its mainstream.
The biggest problem would be everyone else on the road, imagine if you had a car that followed every rule of the road, lane changes, turning, speed limits etc. People would loose their stuff, and crash into you. The benefit would be all the sensors and cameras, reducing the vehicles actual liability.
Vw is a huge company this should affect lots of drivers. Good to see most automakers making moves, despite public opinion.
Posted by: CheeseEater88 | 19 December 2018 at 12:23 PM
With mass production, ADVs fully redundant equipment may cost less than current diesel engines and will be a lot more useful.
By 2025/2030 a high percentage of new electrified vehicles will be ADVs.
Posted by: HarveyD | 23 December 2018 at 10:31 AM