Many people think that autonomous cars mainly work on special, intelligent software. But it’s also about the hardware. The software cannot see anything without hardware (sensors, etc.), and a sensor can only perceive the area around the car but does not understand it. Autonomous cars are only possible through the combination of an intelligent, self-learning software that uses the data from a large number of sensors to monitor complex environments.
Waymo is one of those companies that continues to explore this particular field of autonomous cars. Now, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc (Google) announced its future fifth-generation with Waymo Driver artificial intelligence, which release technologies to be even more advanced and safe than ever.
Waymo Driver is a complex combination of hardware and software that together can make cars drive autonomously. The fifth-generation Waymo Driver is equipped with LiDAR sensors, cameras, and radars, including an all-around system for monitoring objects near the car and in the blind spot of the car.
Thanks to new long-range cameras and the 360 vision system, the car’s system can detect pedestrians more than 500 meters away. The cameras work alongside the LiDAR to provide the vehicles with a 360-degree view of the entire environment. This makes it possible to determine the distance and size of objects up to 300 meters away.
The new 360 LiDAR system provides a bird’s-eye view of the cars, cyclists, and pedestrians surrounding the vehicle. They also detect road stones, opened car doors, and much more. Then with the help of a radar system, the vehicle can immediately detect and measure the speed of a nearby object, even if it is snowing, raining, or foggy.
The fifth generation of Waymo Driver features the very first imaging radar system made for self-driving vehicles – providing us with unparalleled resolution, range, and field of view to see the whole scene at once. Performance can be further improved by overlapping the coverage between radars, and with the cameras and lidars as well.
It is noted that the developers optimized the project and were able to reduce the cost of their products. The first new-generation LiDAR sensors have already begun to be installed – so far on the Jaguar I-PACE. When the completely unmanned vehicle of Waymo itself will be presented is still unknown.