Waymo from 2011 has been developing its own set of sensors from the ground up, including three different types of lidars. The company is now making these sensors available to companies outside of self-driving?—?beginning with robotics, security, agricultural technology, and more?—?so they can achieve their own technological breakthroughs.
The company has announced that one of our 3D lidar sensors, called Laser Bear Honeycomb, is available to select partners. According to the company, Laser Bear Honeycomb is a best-in-class perimeter sensor. For those familiar with Waymo self-driving cars, it’s the same sensor around the bumper of the vehicles. It features:
• Wide field of view: Where some 3D lidar have a vertical field of view (FOV) of just 30°, the Honeycomb has a vertical FOV of 95°, plus a 360° horizontal FOV. That means one Honeycomb can do the job of three other 3D sensors stacked on top of one another.
• Multiple returns per pulse: When the Honeycomb sends out a pulse of light, it doesn’t just see the first object the laser beam touches. Instead, it can see up to four different objects in that laser beams’ line of sight (e.g., it can see both the foliage in front of a tree branch and the tree branch itself). This gives a rich and more detailed view of the environment, and uncovers objects that might otherwise be missed.
• Minimum range of zero: The Honeycomb has a minimum range of zero, meaning it can see objects immediately in front of the sensor. This enables key capabilities such as near object detection and avoidance.
The company expects that offering this lidar to partners helps spur the growth of applications outside of self-driving cars and also propels its business forward and can scale its autonomous technology faster, making each sensor more affordable through economies of scale.
Source: Waymo on Medium