Sensors are an integral part of the autonomous car segment. But when it comes to a choice between bulky top-mounted contraptions or cheaper but unproven laser-on-a-chip technology, Pioneer Corp. thinks it has found the perfect solution. The Japanese company has developed a new type of LiDAR, intended to drive its expansion into the evergreen field of autonomous cars.
At the recently concluded Tokyo Motor Show, it showed off its prototypes for the first time that use a swiveling, microscopic mirror to bounce pulses of light from surrounding objects. Because the device doesn’t employ the motor drive of its larger spinning cousins, it comes in a smaller package with a lower chance of mechanical failure.
Our advantage is that we have long experience in both the optical field as well as car navigation
– Satoshi Ohdate, Senior Exec Officer
Pioneer is developing several types of LiDAR to offer high resolution at long- and mid-range as well as wide-view scan for near objects. It hasn’t disclosed specifications, but says the technology can be used to enable level 3 autonomy, meaning a driver would only have to interfere in case of an emergency.