Volvo Cars and Luminar reveal groundbreaking LiDAR  technology

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 28 Nov 2018


A little over five months after Volvo Cars took a stake in Luminar, a leading start-up in the development of advanced sensor technology for use in autonomous vehicles, the two companies are jointly showcasing groundbreaking autonomous technology development.

Volvo Cars and Luminar are demonstrating the most advanced LiDAR sensor and perception capabilities to date at this year’s Automobility LA trade show in Los Angeles.

The ongoing development of LiDAR technology, which uses pulsed laser signals to detect objects, is a crucial element in creating safe autonomous cars. It allows autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments and at higher speeds by providing these cars with reliable long-range perception capabilities.

Volvo Cars says LiDAR technology can help it make its vision for autonomous travel, as showcased in the Volvo 360c concept earlier this year, a reality. The development of advanced LiDAR technology and perception capabilities is one of many ways in which Volvo Cars and its partners are working towards a safe introduction of fully autonomous cars.

The new perception capabilities help detect human poses including individual limbs, a level of detail not previously possible. The new technology is also able to detect objects at a range of up to 250 metres, much further than any LiDAR tech currently available.

New perception capabilities
The new perception capabilities being developed by Luminar in partnership with Volvo Cars make it possible for the system to detect human poses including individual limbs such as arms and legs, a level of detail not previously possible with this type of sensor. The new technology is also able to detect objects at a range of up to 250 metres, a much further range than any LiDAR technology currently available.

“Autonomous technology will take driving safely to a new level, beyond human limitations. This promise to improve safety is why Volvo Cars wants to be a leader in autonomous drive. Ultimately, the technology will also create new benefits for our customers and society as a whole,” said Henrik Green, senior vice-president for research and development at Volvo Cars. “Luminar shares our ambition in making those benefits a reality and this new perception technology is an important next step in that process.”

“The Volvo Cars R&D team is moving at an impressive pace to solve some of the most advanced problems in the development of autonomous driving,” said Austin Russell, founder and CEO of Luminar. “As we’ve scaled up, they’ve remained on the forefront of developing an autonomous system to take the driver out of the loop - ultimately enabling deployment in real consumer vehicles.”

Volvo Cars presented the 360c concept, a holistic view of a future of travel that is autonomous, electric, connected and safe, in September of this year. It imagines four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space – which all reimagine the way people travel. The 360c also introduces a proposal for a global standard in how autonomous vehicles can safely communicate with all other road users.

The Volvo 360c concept car is a holistic view of a future of travel that is autonomous, electric, connected and safe.