Pioneer harnessing laserdisc tech for low-cost LIDAR

The company envisions LIDARs under US$83, which could boost the spread of self-driving cars.

Using know-how gained by making laserdiscs of yesteryear, Pioneer is developing a 3D LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor that could be a fraction of the cost of current systems.

The company sees technology related to optical pickups once used in laserdisc players, which it made for 30 years until 2009, as key to a compact LIDAR system that could cost less than ¥10,000 (US$83) by 2025.

With some LIDAR sensors now costing tens of thousands of dollars, that would speed the spread of autonomous vehicles such as self-driving passenger cars and smart golf carts that could be used as a shared public transportation system. Such robotic cars use LIDAR to navigate and avoid obstacles.

With small LIDAR units mounted on the four corners of a car, for instance, the system could gather data for road outline maps, including features such as lane markings and crosswalks. It would also gather information to create detailed 3D point cloud maps of the area around the vehicle.

The system would detect objects dozens of meters ahead, measure their distance and width and identify them based on their shape.

Pioneer, which makes GPS navigation systems, is working on getting the LIDAR to automatically produce high-precision digital maps while using a minimum of data compared to the amount used for standard maps for car navigation.

There are similarities in manufacturing techniques for optical pickups and LIDAR systems, a Pioneer spokesman said, adding the company is using its know-how in signal processing, chip development and optical module manufacturing for the LIDAR technology.

Pioneer has created test units of its LIDAR system and will examine them in vehicle trials, with commercialization for business-use vehicles in 2017 and private passenger cars around 2018.

The sensors could be useful to companies such as Google that are developing self-driving cars, and need low-cost LIDAR to make them commercially viable. Google has previously experimented with robot cars equipped with $80,000 Velodyne roof-mounted LIDAR systems.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?