Company presented automotive technology
THE SANTA CLARA
November 13, 2014
The rage-inducing frustration of rush hour commutes may become more bearable with driverless cars.
Velodyne, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company, aims to alleviate the stress and monotony of driving. They presented their technology to develop self-driving cars at Santa Clara on Nov. 3.
“Driving can be boring,” said Wolfgang Juchmann, director of sales and marketing at Velodyne.“Unless there’s nice scenery or a pretty girl sitting in the passenger seat, it’s not fun. Bumper to bumper traffic everyday to and from work is horrible.”
Their devices, ranging in size from a hockey puck to a milk jug, use a combination of lasers that rotate 360 degrees.
They take up to 1.3 million readings per second, creating a map of the surrounding area. The device then communicates with camera and a computer to control the car.
Over the past decade, Velodyne has developed LiDAR technology. Similar to sonar, LiDAR sensors create a 3D map of its surroundings using a collection of lasers.
Companies including the Toyota Motor Corporation, Ford Motor Company and BMW are using LiDAR technology to create self-driving prototypes.
Juchmann said companies like Lockheed Martin, which produce aerospace and defense technology, have successfully used Velodyne’s innovations to build military transportation and large-scale self-operating construction vehicles.
Legal questions have proved to be a major hurdle to the development of LiDAR technology for self-driving cars.
The Federal Aviation Administration prohibits private citizens from using unmanned aircraft systems, which often operate with LiDAR technology.
Laws regulating self-driving cars have yet to be written.
“If a car’s computer is forced to either hit an old woman or a young boy in the street, the program will ultimately make a decision,” Juchmann said. “Because the code that would make that decision is written by a programmer, courts could hypothetically go back and find that individual responsible.”