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Driving fatalities in the U.S. fell to 10,590 in the second quarter from 11,135 in the same period a year earlier, but remain a scourge of humanity.
Swedish automaker Volvo is a longtime safety leader and thinks we can do better. The automaker announced that all future models will feature laser-based sensors called lidars, which they say will reduce serious vehicle crashes by 20 percent. cheers to that.
see the light
Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses pulsed laser light to create high-resolution images to capture an accurate 3D view of the world. Lidar-equipped cars can sense their surroundings and avoid obstacles like pedestrians, but the high cost (a single lidar sensor can run over $1,000) means the technology is largely reserved for autonomous and commercial vehicles— — not as an extra safety measure as a feature in regular older human-driven cars.
Still, analysts expect the use of security sensors to become more common soon. In the European Union, laws will soon require cars to have obstacle-activated emergency braking, and companies including BMW and Mercedes have announced the use of lidar in some models.
Volvo, which became the first car manufacturer to introduce three-point seat belts in the 1950s, is looking to cement its position as a safety leader:
- According to Volvo boss Jim, the electric version of its flagship XC90 sports utility vehicle, the EX90, will be equipped with lidar sensors that allow it to see “black tires on a black road 120 meters ahead, or pedestrians 250 meters ahead” Rowan .
- This will give the car an additional 3-4 seconds of decision time and will reduce crashes by about 9% and fatal or injury accidents by 20%. Volvo added that it “intends” to roll out the technology to all future models.
Lidar Reverse: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has vehemently opposed lidar technology, claiming that “anyone who relies on lidar is doomed…it’s like having a whole bunch of expensive accessories… In my opinion, that’s going to push the company toward a local maximum that they’re going to have a hard time getting out of.” Instead, Tesla uses cameras and radar to inform its Autopilot features — and possibly less doom.