In a bid to venture into the self-driving car market, Toyota will partner with Luminar. Luminar is a Silicon Valley based startup which focuses on building LiDAR technology for autonomous cars.
Luminar received a vote of confidence to build technology for Toyota’s autonomous car venture. According to a Recode report, Toyota’s research wing, Toyota Research Institute would be working with Luminar to integrate its in-built LiDar technology which helps in object detection.
LiDAR technology is essentially Light Detection and Ranging technology. This technology essentially gives a three dimensional vision of a scene. This is similar to radar, except for the fact that beams of light — usually infrared lasers — are used instead of radio waves. For autonomous cars, this sensor technology enables the user to see the captured near and farther objects. As per Russell the LiDar technology helps in detecting objects as far as 200 metre away.
Meanwhile, Alphabet’s Waymo and GM’s Cruise have been using Velodyne LiDAR sensor technology. It seems to be a more popular choice for companies investing in autonomous cars. Austin Russell, founder of Luminar, speaking to Recode, said that it intends to build 10,000 LiDar units by the end of the year.
Toyota Research Institute, Chief Technical Officer, James Kuffner said, “We’re quite excited about some of the features it offers, particularly the longer-range sensing.”
It is not known how many cars are integrated with Luminar's system as Toyota has already put some of its self-driving cars for test on road.
Meanwhile in the competition for self-driving technology, by June this year, General Motors had completed the production of 130 self-driven electric cars. Waymo had announced that it would be retiring its Firefly line of vehicles and would instead be focusing on integrating its technologies with offerings from third-party manufacturers. In fact, as per an earlier report, Toyota, Stanford University and MIT, along with others, were developing a blockchain-based solution that would allow sharing of critical data between self driving car companies and component manufacturers, which will make for safer autonomous vehicles