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Sensor Fusion: The Automotive 6th Sense

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Advanced sensors involving photonics are ushering in a new era of safety and efficiency.


Advanced vehicles today are full of sensors for monitoring motion, speed, position, pressure, temperature, moisture, and emissions. The number of sensors in cars and trucks will only continue to grow as the demand for advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous vehicles increases. Analysts at Research and Markets predicted in the “Global Automotive Sensor Market Analysis and Forecast” that the automotive sensor market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.4% through 2029. Automakers are betting on the rising demand, growing the sensor count in vehicles to enable the 360° mapping and redundancy required by driverless vehicles. When it comes to autonomous vehicle technology designed to replace human drivers, error is unacceptable when interpreting and acting on the surroundings of automated cars; indeed, the technology must be better than humans at managing safe driving decisions.

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Published: March 2020
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape and characteristics of objects and surfaces. Lidar systems typically consist of a laser scanner, a GPS receiver, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), all integrated into a single system. Here is how lidar works: Laser emission: A laser emits laser pulses, often in the form of rapid and repetitive laser...
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