Local Lidar Team Making Big Contributions to Future of Self Driving Vehicles

The future is being built in our own backyard

By Drew Monroe | Published on 1/10/2024, 9:15:00 PM

Aurora Press

Self-driving trucks could be hitting the roads around Dallas, TX, by the end of 2024, thanks in part to the significant efforts of Aurora's Bozeman office. Since their acquisition in 2019, the Bozeman based Aurora lidar team has been iterating on their Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) lidar technology. This cutting-edge work is crucial in advancing Aurora's goal to roll out their self-driving vehicles.

Why it matters: Aurora is betting big on FMCW lidar, believing it to be a vital component in its self-driving system; the Aurora Driver. The lidar technology's strength lies in its capacity to instantaneously determine the velocity of surrounding objects using the Doppler Effect, making it a game-changer in vehicle sensing capabilities and ultimately ensuring the safety for both the self-driving vehicle and others on the road.

Safety First: Utilizing collision scenario data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Aurora has continuously enhanced their lidar-based platform's accident prevention capabilities through virtual simulations and testing on closed-circuit tracks. With the ability to see up to 400 meters in all directions, Aurora is making significant strides in increasing reaction time and attempting to reduce the likelihood of fatal accidents on the road.

Zeb Barber, Senior Director of Lidar Research & Development Aurora’s Bozeman office, says "Bozeman’s lidar expertise has been a core part of Aurora’s story that is driving us toward our commercial launch expected at the end of this year."

Looking ahead: Barber says, "we're excited to expand our footprint in Bozeman while investing in local education and training to continue building up Bozeman as a center of excellence in photonics development."