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ADAS, Lidar, and the Future of Autonomous Vehicles

Advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, have become standard in many vehicles on the market today. Features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot alarms have given rise to the next generation of safe driving experiences. Consumers are embracing the technology—58% want to see high-performing ADAS features in their vehicles. But people are far from convinced that even with current ADAS technology, safe, autonomous driving is a reality. According to Forbes, 86% of people interviewed in a AAA survey said they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle (54%) or are unsure about it (32%). Manufacturers looking to win over consumers in the autonomous vehicle space must focus on high-performing ADAS capabilities that translate to safe, accurate, and trustworthy technology.

Let’s dive into what makes ADAS an essential component of the future of autonomous vehicle development and what lidar can do to improve upon existing ADAS technology.

What are ADAS?

ADAS are a collection of technologies meant to make driving safer. Drivers and tech work together to identify dangers on the road and safely navigate the surroundings. In addition to tech that guides the driver, like adaptive cruise control, ADAS can automate aspects of driving like automatic braking and steering to prevent a collision. Automated ADAS also includes capabilities like parking assist and even self-return technology—paving the way for an autonomous driving experience. Future applications of ADAS look to interface with smart city / smart road infrastructure, communicating traffic jams and construction areas to re-route autonomous vehicles, as well as features that will ultimately deliver automated high-speed driving.

How does it work?

Advanced driver assistance systems use lidar, radar, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors to create data used to enable safety features. These systems rely on data accuracy across all weather and lighting conditions, city and highway speeds, as well as static and moving objects. Therefore, manufacturers often need to utilize many different technologies (and hardware and software) to “see” and understand the vehicle’s environment and then communicate what action should occur. The use of lidar will improve and enhance a vehicle’s ADAS by quickly digitizing the scene to streaming 3D point cloud output. 

Why are ADAS important? What are the advantages of ADAS?

In addition to creating safer travel and its positive impact on protecting life and property, ADAS technology’s benefits extend to two main groups: drivers and OEMs. For drivers, the value of ADAS lies in its ability to reduce human error, improving reaction time and promoting safe driving habits. Alert and warning systems help notify the driver of impending dangers, thus improving a driver’s awareness of the environment and assisting in avoiding collisions. ADAS technology has room to innovate in autonomous driving features—like automatic emergency braking, steering, and active lane-keep assist—where the system takes control of the vehicle. This is where OEMs and their tech partners can set the standard for safety in identifying the capabilities required to deliver high-performing, trustworthy ADAS in automated vehicles.

What is the projected ADAS market share of vehicles with lidar?

The outlook of ADAS innovation is impressive. According to industry data, significant growth is expected with ADAS features being added to the OEM fleet over the next decade and increasing penetration. “Looking to the future, if we assume that L2+ vehicles will require at least one lidar sensor and L3 vehicles to have at least two, using this assumption and an average ASP of $800, we estimate that the cumulative revenue opportunity for lidar sensors is $80 billion through 2030,” said Anubhav Verma, Chief Financial Officer at MicroVision. 

Why is MicroVision the best solution to enhance ADAS autonomous vehicle capabilities for OEMs?

There are currently five levels of autonomous driving, according to SAE International. All current ADAS technology available in US vehicles is at levels 0-2, with drivers still required to supervise and control the vehicle. For those OEMs preparing for levels 3 and 4— where the technology takes more control over the driving of the vehicle— scalability, cost, and compliance become very real obstacles to achieving true autonomous driving.

“MicroVision’s technology looks to remove these roadblocks to ADAS innovation for autonomous vehicle development. We work with our OEM partners to establish safety capabilities that will allow them to differentiate themselves and compete in the era that will define automotive technology,” said Sumit Sharma, MicroVision CEO. “MicroVision looks to collaborate with our OEM partners to enable their product roadmaps with our hardware and edge perception software technologies. By providing OEMs with a fully integrated lidar solution and edge perception software that delivers an ultra-high-resolution image of the driving scene, MicroVision’s solution allows cars to see farther and react faster than ever before. This approach allows OEMs to maintain control over the driving experience with the ability to leverage the point cloud to develop innovative new safety features as a basis of differentiation. All developed with tried-and-true materials and components known to the OEM supply chain today. No exotic materials—only the same auto-grade silicon, detectors, lasers, plastics, and metals OEMs have been sourcing for decades and enabled by our IP.”

ADAS technology is advancing at a rapid pace, moving the industry closer to autonomous driving. Proving the safety, reliability, and accuracy of ADAS in automated vehicles will be the key to unlocking the public’s trust and ensuring that OEMs are on the path to choosing the best solution for the future.