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12.01.2015

More Affordable Sensors Lead to Greater Opportunities for Automation

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Related topics: Forecast® · Safety · Vantage®
Raw point cloud data generated by ASI's Forcast lidar and analyzed by Vantage™ perception softwareRaw point cloud data generated by ASI's Forcast lidar and analyzed by Vantage™ perception software

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 Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (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.