Autonomous Solutions Inc (ASI) says advances in sensor technology is creating more opportunities in the autonomous vehicles sector, adding that the sensors are getting cheaper.
Each autonomous vehicle system employs a set of sensors that provide environmental feedback for safety, navigation, and other essential vehicle functions.
Up until this point, sensors with high levels of accuracy have been too expensive for most users to afford, but that is rapidly changing.
From a vertically spinning LIDAR on a mining truck to a stereo camera on a Packbot, it’s not uncommon to see any one of a number of sensors atop an unmanned vehicle at ASI.
GPS, LIDAR, infrared, and vision-based sensor technologies play an integral role in any autonomous vehicle system. Feedback from a network of sensors and software algorithms enables an unmanned vehicle to essentially “see” what is going on in its environment and react intelligently.
Unfortunately, sensors – which are generally the largest cost-driver in the autonomous system–and budgets do not always match up, forcing companies to sacrifice their desired level of accuracy for a more affordable sensor.
Change is close, however, according to ASI’s Jared Pratt.
“As sensor prices have dropped and as the algorithms have improved to leverage lower cost sensors, more automation applications are showing a strong return on investment,” said Pratt in a recent article by OEM-Off Highway’s Sara Jensen.