Radar vs. Lidar Sensors: What Are the Differences?

Radar vs. Lidar Sensors: What Are the Differences?

Automakers are constantly looking for ways to make their vehicles safer and smarter—especially in the realm of assisted or autonomous driving. One of the most important advances in this area has been the use of sensors, specifically radar and lidar. These two technologies work to detect objects around a car, including other vehicles, pedestrians, animals, road signs, and more. But what are the differences between radar and lidar sensors? Explore the technology behind each solution and see how they affect the future of the automotive industry with this overview.

How Radar Works

Radar, also known as Radio Detection and Ranging, works by emitting a radio wave that then reflects off of obstacles in its path. The reflected waves bounce back to a receiving antenna, which converts them into an electrical signal. The radar system then processes this signal and uses it to determine the distance, speed, size, and direction of any objects in the path of the radar beam.

When it comes to automotive applications, radar is part of an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). In these systems, multiple radars can work together to detect objects around the vehicle at any given time. The data collected from these radars help vehicles navigate the surrounding area safely.

How Lidar Works

Lidar stands for Light Detection and Ranging. It works similarly to radar but uses light pulses instead of radio waves. The lidar system emits a laser beam that reflects off nearby objects and returns back to the sensor. Here, onboard computers calculate how long it takes for the light to bounce back to the sensor and use that data to determine an object’s location, shape, size, speed, and other information.

Lidar in the Future of Autonomous Driving

One of the biggest differences between radar and lidar sensors is the level of accuracy. Lidar has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its high accuracy compared to other sensing technologies. This superior accuracy creates a clearer map of a vehicle’s surrounding area. Lidar has more success detecting multiple small objects, determining which direction people and vehicles are facing, and catching other crucial nuances in the environment. As a result, lidar is rapidly becoming the primary technology in autonomous vehicles and ADAS.

Hesai Technology is a global leader in lidar technology. Learn more about how lidar is changing automotive, robotics, and industrial applications when you visit us online today.

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