Underground maps to slash the cost of Lidar, says WaveSense

March 18, 2019 // By Julien Happich
Underground maps to slash the cost of Lidar, says WaveSense
Last summer, US startup WaveSense was closing a $3M seed round for its ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology, yet another mapping technology aimed at autonomous vehicles but exclusively looking at sub-surface features.

The company’s claim is that data extracted from scanning underground features (as deep as 3m underneath the road’s surface) is much more reliable than any data acquired optically by Lidars or cameras, which can be affected by fast changing weather conditions and urban landscapes.

Still, this novel sensing technology would presumably add to the costs of autonomous vehicles and data for the maps has yet to be extensively collected to make commercial sense, eeNews Europe argued when catching up with Tarik Bolat, CEO and Co-Founder of WaveSense.

Tarik Bolat, CEO and Co-Founder of WaveSense.

Quite the contrary, thinks Bolat. “With Lidar, the upper views are dedicated to positioning. So we could reduce the laser beam count together with the field of view of Lidar systems. Our GPR would cost under a hundred dollars at production scale, so it is pretty inexpensive in the current autonomous vehicle sensing suite”, explained the CEO. “When you consider the tens of thousands of dollars spent on Lidar, we would be squashing the overall costs”.

“There isn’t much more juice to squeeze out of the current sensor set” added Bolat, saying that a mapping and car-positioning solution totally independent and uncorrelated from today’s sensor fusion tricks was seducing car OEMs.

“In the next few months, we’ll be choosing one or two partners for commercialization into different markets. One will be the after-market for autonomous vehicles by 2020, and then our solution could be integrated in the autonomous vehicle models of 2023/2024” detailed the CEO.

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