Sensor technologies used in driverless car

Since Google started the development of driverless cars in 2009, driverless car related topics have attracted a lot of attention. Major manufacturers such as Google, Tesla, Ford Motors and General Motors have since launched their own vehicles. Driverless cars have gained large attention because they can bring many benefits to us, eg. they are expected to reduce the number of accidents, reduce CO2 emission and ease congestion etc. Driverless cars market based on forecast is going to grow fast and is expected to exceed 100,000 units by 2024 according to Grand View Research, Inc.

The below are several sensor technologies currently used in a driverless car.

Radar sensors are arranged around the car to detect presence and position of surrounding environments such as vehicles and their speeds. They are also used to guide car parking and blind spot detection etc.

Camera sensors are used to detect traffic lights and traffic signs, monitor other vehicles and detect pedestrians etc.

LiDAR (light detection and ranging system) sensors use remote sensing technology to measure distance and detect roads by giving out light beam such as laser beams, ultra violet, visible light or infrared light and analyzing reflected signals from the car’s surroundings.

Ultrasonic sensors are located in vehicle wheels and are used to detect the position of vehicle and obstacles due to the sensitivity to small movements.

Inertial measurement unit (IMU) combines accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers and is used to measure acceleration, velocity and orientation etc. IMU is used to enhance GPS or in conditions where GPS signals are not available.

Besides, there is also central computer to collect and analyze the data from the sensor systems on the vehicle. The information collected by the central computer contributes to the driving of the vehicle.

Take a look at how Google self-driving car works:

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