This Compact and Cheap Lidar Could Steer Small Autonomous Vehicles

Researchers in Sweden have developed cheaper, lighter and more efficient lidar technology that could pave the way for smaller autonomous craft such as drones and robots, and help enable better profitability in the vehicle industry.

For autonomous vehicles, lidar is an essential technology to recognize and detect surrounding objects. A team at KTH Royal Institute of Technology has taken aim at the key component of lidar, optical beam-stearing, and developed a device that is significantly cheaper to manufacture, lighter and more resource-efficient than previous variations of the technology.

Carlos Errando-Herranz, a postdoc at KTH’s ‘s Division of Micro and Nanosystems, says that this version of lidar would cost about USD 10 each given large production volumes, weigh a few grams (including peripheral equipment) and consume some 100 milliwatts. The research was reported in the journal Optics Letters.