4 “driverless” technologies to keep an eye on
Author: Sam Mitter
May 3, 2018
Autonomous driving has made headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, in part due to a tragic accident in the U.S., which recorded its first death caused by a vehicle intended to be fully self-driving. But as we noted in a recent insight paper, A Setback in the Move towards a Driverless World, there is still good reason to believe that driverless technology can provide significant benefits to society as it becomes more refined over time.
As such, we continue to keep a close eye on many of the innovations that will make self-driving cars possible, including vision, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), mapping and connectivity technologies.
Driver assistance systems that help prevent imminent accidents by processing visual information. This includes objects (pedestrian and vehicle) detection, lane detection, traffic sign recognition and high/low beam control.
A surveying method that measures distance to a target with pulsed laser light by recording the time between transmitted and backscattered pulses and by using the speed of light to calculate the distance traveled.
Detailed high-definition maps that provide visual representations of immediate surroundings including the physical location of the pavements, buildings and trees; road signs and traffic lights; and how the self-driving car should behave, such as observing the speed limit.
Computing platforms that make sense of all of the sensor data and figures out the safest path in real time. This requires a “data recorder”, similar to a plane’s “black box”, that will record information for at least 30 seconds before a collision, necessitating a range of high speed memory and storage.
Although it may take years – if not decades – before driverless vehicles become ubiquitous, knowing about these technologies and the companies developing them can help position investors to benefit from this long-term secular trend down the road.