Fans of self-driving car technology will be happy to hear that Waymo managed to cut the cost of LiDAR sensors by a whopping 90 percent. Waymo is the self-driving car unit from Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
In a recent post at Jalopnik, it's revealed that when Google's engineers started on the project in 2009, a single top-of-the-range LiDAR cost upward of $75,000. Waymo's latest LiDAR reportedly costs 90 percent less, it's sort of a laser-based radar that sees everything around the car in reflected points. Many in the car industry believe LiDAR is an indispensable piece of technology for fully autonomous vehicles.
Waymo’s new LIDAR supposedly costs 90 percent less, CEO John Krafcik announced this afternoon at a press conference. Krafcik showed the full array, complete with three different LIDAR sensors for short, medium and long-range, as well as eight cameras and a 360-degree radar system, as Automotive News notes. Krafcik says this array is “capable of full autonomy.”
It's very decent progress but further price cuts are needed to make the technology feasible for a broad range of applications. However, not everyone is convinced self-driving cars need LiDAR. Tesla for example is confident it can achieve its goals without using the costly LiDAR.