A lot of sophisticated technology goes into creating safe and successful self-driving vehicles. However, one of the most crucial innovations is the technology that powers vision and navigation. There are several solutions automotive engineers can use in autonomous vehicle navigation systems, including lidar sensors and cameras. What’s the difference between the two? What unique benefits do they offer vehicles? Explore the benefits of lidar vs. cameras in self-driving cars.
Within the realm of autonomous driving, cameras seek to imitate human vision as closely as possible. With specialized image sensors and advanced AI analysis, camera systems can detect and recognize objects within the vehicle’s surroundings. The biggest advantage of camera-based sensors is their superior visual recognition. Unlike the point clouds of lidar, imaging technology views the world as humans see it; this lends itself to clear object detection and precise image analysis. Camera sensors can even read and interpret road markings or road sign messages.
Lidar sensors use laser pulses that bounce off nearby objects and reflect back to the sensor. This creates a detailed data cloud that shows the surrounding environment, including precise sizes and shapes of objects as well as their proximity to the vehicle. As autonomous lidar systems evolve, their perception becomes more comprehensive and precise, allowing for more dependable object identification and recognition. Furthermore, lidar systems work in any lighting condition; this gives them an advantage over cameras, which need light to be able to perceive their surroundings. Lidar systems also offer a further detection range than camera sensors, making them more useful at high speeds.
Because lidar and cameras both offer unique benefits for self-driving cars, the best autonomous driving systems take advantage of both technologies. Self-driving cars that use lidar sensors and cameras benefit from a more comprehensive view of their surroundings, safer navigation, and better functionality in poor lighting or weather conditions.