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Insight LiDAR develops first gesture detection sensing technology for autonomous vehicle LiDAR systems

Insight LiDAR announced that its product, Insight 1600, is the first LiDAR with the combined high resolution and velocity detection to enable pedestrian gesture recognition. The new capability can be used by AV perception teams to predict the actions of pedestrians quickly and accurately.

When humans drive, we’re constantly scanning the environment around us. We’re watching for cars moving into our lane and looking at nearby pedestrians to see what they might do. For example, if a pedestrian looks both ways at an intersection, drivers understand that that person intends to cross the street.

—Vice President of Business Development Greg Smolka

According to Insight LiDAR Vice President Chris Wood, detecting these subtle pedestrian movements that convey intent is an important safety capability that has eluded AV developers until now.

When we initially designed Insight 1600, we expected its ultra-high resolution and instantaneous low velocity detection with every pixel to be critical in making vehicle decisions, especially regarding other vehicle movement. However, we’ve been surprised by all the ways perception teams are using this critical information. From separating close objects and more accurately identifying distant ones to now predicting pedestrian movement, we’re seeing how important this data is to safe AV operation.

—Chris Wood

Wood reports that Insight LiDAR’s FMCW sensors are believed to have the lowest minimum detectable velocity on the market.

The Insight 1600 use Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) LiDAR sensor technology that utilizes a low power continuous wave of light instead of high-power laser pulses to sense its environment. Much more sensitive than traditional LiDAR, this allows AVs to see objects much further away.

The Insight 1600 also offers the industry’s highest resolution: 4-64x better than competitors. This ultra-high resolution, coupled with Insight’s highly sensitive FMCW architecture, detects enough pixels to enable AV software to not only detect, but also identify small, low reflectivity objects at distances exceeding 200 m.

With more than 12 years of experience in high-resolution medical and industrial imaging, Insight LiDAR is using a combination of enabling technologies and patented techniques with Insight 1600. Utilizing Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) and ASICs, Insight 1600 is based on a semiconductor architecture that can be scaled up for low-cost production in the millions of units.

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