Volvo Swedes are already famous for the safety of their cars. For the future XC90, which will be launched next year, Volvo has announced the installation of LiDAR sensors and an AI computer for autonomous driving.
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Even though the optimism of five years ago has diminished, autonomous driving is still a mirage for carmakers. Not everyone follows the same path to get there. For example, Tesla has announced that it is abandoning LiDAR sensors and will use only optical systems to map the world around the car.
On the other hand, Volvo will equip future models with LiDAR technology, which will make possible the transition to autonomous driving. The Swedish manufacturer believes that this step is essential to reduce the number of road accidents and create the safest cars in the automotive industry.
The future Volvo XC90 will be a model available exclusively with electric propulsion, and the Swedish manufacturer promises to be equipped with the latest technologies, both in terms of safety and connectivity systems, and in terms of driving assistance systems. For this, Volvo has partnered with Luminar to use LiDAR sensors. The imaging is thus done using laser scanning of the surroundings, as opposed to radar waves.
Volvo XC90: why the Swedes want autonomous driving based on LiDAR technology
The Volvo XC90 will include as standard a computer based on artificial intelligence that uses NVIDIA Drive Orin processors to provide a collision avoidance system and virtually eliminate deaths from road accidents. System performance will improve over time through computer learning and over-the-air updates. If at the beginning the system will mainly issue warnings to the driver, in time it will become sufficiently capable to intervene in critical situations, preventing collisions.
Thus, the future Volvo XC90 will have redundant systems for key components – steering and braking – which will later allow you to switch to autonomous driving without the intervention of the driver. All these functions will be included in the Highway Pilot package, a Swedish version of the Tesla Autopilot.
Unlike Volvo, Tesla has announced that it will not use LiDAR sensors, which it considers inappropriate for autonomous driving. A LiDR sensor does a great job of distinguishing stationary objects, but it won’t be able to tell the difference between an asphalt pit and a bag. At the same time, moving objects will cause problems for systems that rely on LiDAR sensors. In addition, LiDAR sensors are extremely expensive – about 10,000 euros for a single sensor.
According to Elon Musk, people do not need to throw laser beams around to find the distance between objects, but can make a relatively accurate assessment using only stereoscopic vision. That’s why Tesla machines rely primarily on video cameras and machine learning algorithms to analyze surroundings and make real-time decisions. This does not mean that the system often does not give errors, hence some accidents that have become representative of the Tesla approach.