Driverless car development boosted as Volvo releases research data

If autonomous technology is to progress, data needs to be analysed and used by more people. Which is why Volvo and its lidar supplier partner Luminar Technologies’ decision to share data is important.

The two firms released a free, curated dataset called Cirrus containing long-range lidar data from Volvo’s fleet of test vehicles. The curated dataset is open to industry developers and researchers in the hope that it will help to bring further advances for safe self-driving.

The raw data from Luminar’s lidar sensors can detect objects ahead of the car up to 250m away and marks a shift in the data and information available to developers. Previous publicly available information has relied on shorter-range, lower-resolution point clouds and uniform scanning patterns, so, while it’s been interesting, its usefulness has been debatable.