The two primary sensor technologies used in the development of autonomous vehicles are lidar and radar. A huge debate is going on over the merits of lidar versus radar sensors and their importance to automakers and tech companies.
Lidar and radar operate on the premise of emitting electromagnetic waves and detecting the reflection of nearby objects. The crucial distinction is that it has an impact on the acceptability of applications like fully autonomous vehicles (FAV) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
Precise 3D maps of the environment are generated with the use of Lidar, and radar is best at detecting the speed and direction of moving objects. The importance of the two technologies in different industries varies a lot. A comparison of lidar sensors vs. radar sensors from the market’s point of view
- The comparison of the two sensors and the market view suggest that Lidar is more accurate than radar for applications in autonomous vehicles. A higher resolution of 3D maps is generated, allowing self-driving cars to better detect and classify objects.
- In the market, it also shows that Lidar is way more expensive than radar, and hence a way needs to be found to control the high cost so that the end product doesn’t become way too inexpensive to handle.
- In the automotive industry, radar is also low-cost for applications such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. However, the lower resolution is not suitable enough for full self-driving capability.
- Different automakers are exploring the technologies in different combinations. Tesla is operating with cameras and radar in the Autopilot system, whereas Waymo uses both lidar and radar.
- The Lidar market revenue is expected to reach $2 billion by 2025, and due to AVs, it is expected to grow much faster. The major players are Velodyne, Luminar, Innoviz, and Aeva.
As per experts’ views, a combination of sensors is more powerful for robust self-driving systems. Radar is advantageous when it comes to cost, but now it depends on what kind of customers you are targeting and whether you are okay with just going with a sensor and compromising the benefits just because of the cost.
As you can see, a 3D map is significantly superior to employing sensors alone for better detection unless and until it is backed up by a reliable tool to make up for what one is lacking.
However, only trial and error can show how powerful radar or Lidar can be. Autonomous vehicles are not an easy tech to handle, as they have to completely work on a real-time feedback loop and make appropriate decisions at an exact time.