Ford and Argo AI have made an announcement regarding the purchase of Princeton Lightwave. This marks Ford’s interest in Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology developed by the company based in Cranbury, New Jersey.
Argo AI is a subsidiary of Ford aiming to produce car technology for their marketing advantage. As a common attribute of huge companies seeking to produce automated vehicles, Ford also has a desire to control the virtual driving platform. Such would include key sensors, software, and services to be utilized in the deployment of Ford cars.
The interest of Ford in LIDAR technology has made this deal possible. Basically, this is a remote sensing method that would utilize light formed as a pulsed laser in order to measure ranges or variable distances to the Earth.
For a self-driving car to benefit from LIDAR, it uses a sensor mounted on top of the vehicle. Thus, it would take advantage of continuous visibility of images at 360 degrees. This means that the sensor would be able to see in all directions all of the time.
It also provides unbelievably accurate depth information about a specific object. This means that the unit can determine the precise distance of an object with regards to where you are located.
Ford already made a prior investment on LIDAR at $75 million into the Velodyne deal in August 2016. However, Argo and Ford have not revealed the price for its investment in the Princeton Lightwave.
With this technology at hand, Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky believes that LIDAR should be one of the key components for the production of robust perception system for automated driving. This should be used alongside radar and cameras, allowing the the technology to function in all conditions.
Velodyne sensors were utilized in the first 2 generations of automated Fusion prototypes of Ford. At the moment, Velodyne continues to work for the production of intent sensors, which can withstand the rigors of driving. Thus, it should be able to endure day and night driving in all weather, road condition, and temperatures.