Weather conditions such as snow are sometimes a threat to self-driving vehicles. This is because the vehicle might probably lose its location and fail to follow the correct route. This is the reason as to why many companies in the U.S. run the testing for this vehicles in places that are sunny like Florida and Arizona. Sometimes the weather could exceed its limits by having ice which is as much as 5 cm thick covering the roads.
Nonetheless, engineers from Bosch took to the dreaded snow covered roads today to test their new technology. The technology should be able to set the automated vehicles to recognize their current location without being hindered by any weather changes and it would be primarily enabled by a radar. At the moment, automated cars are using Lidar as their cameras and laser sensors. It is quite unfortunate that Lidar has always received most of the venture capital at the expense of radar.
John Xin who is the CEO of Lunewave-developers of radar-sensing systems, has decided that it is time the game changes now that there is a lot to expect from the radar sensors. Another start-up which has also realized the potential of the radar sensors is WaveSense alongside Bosch which is now the global supplier of these sensors.
Here are the three radar companies:
Radars are nothing new to Bosch as it has been producing them for cars for close to two decades now. Its latest innovation is a prototype that helps the vehicle to detect its location via GPS and radar information. The two inputs can partner together with Bosch’s system to take the exact data and compare it with the base map whilst matching the rhyming patterns and determine the location of a car.
However, the recent demonstration shows that Bosch’s system can solely rely on the radar to figure out its location. Moreover, the radar works throughout all the weather conditions and does not even require lighting to work effectively. The good news is that radar has turned the tables by being produced in large-scale and now at the expense of Lidar.
The radar system from this company is quite distinguished from any other. Firstly, it makes use of ground-penetrating radar after which it creates a map of the surface of the road. Its radio waves which can go to 10 feet under the road get reflections of the roots, rocks and soil type. It then compiles a map which can be compared to a preloaded one and a car is able to localize itself.
The company couples antennas with radars enabling them to sense obstacles approximated to be in a distance of 380 yards. The good thing is that the sphere shape in their radars allow sensing in all directions plus its small size and improved performance could probably help minimize the number of sensors in the vehicles. This would in turn reduce the cost of producing the radar systems as the three companies look forward to perfecting their new business opportunity.