The American firm Argo AI, which started five years ago with artificial intelligence systems and software for autonomous movement, thanks to the recent acquisition of Princeton Lightwave, has expanded its activities by starting the development and production of lidars. Recently, Argo AI spoke about a new sensor capable of “seeing” at 400 m. It will prove to be an important element of unmanned vehicles from Volkswagen and Ford, the main investors in the startup.
The lidar developers say that its advantage is not only the ability to build a high-precision 3D map of the environment, but also the profitability of production, and the readiness for mass production.
The single-photon sensors used here catch weak responses even from black objects. Improved parameters are also associated with the choice of a wavelength of more than 1400 nm instead of 905 nm, which is more common in such sensors, which is why the device is able to build images at highway speeds, while analogues can only cope well with urban (up to 70 km / h).
On the part of Volkswagen, an electric van ID will participate in unmanned services. Buzz AD, and from Ford’s side, the Ford Fusion and Escape hybrids converted into autonomous vehicles are involved in this kind of race (the latter will be built 150 by the end of 2021 and will be sent to the streets).
With the assistance of Argo AI, the giant Ford is already performing test drives on drones (the photo above shows an example of the experience in Pittsburgh, taken in late April). Such services (passenger travel and delivery of goods) in the United States, the “Blue Oval” intends to enter into normal operation in 2022. And Volkswagen (through its future mobility provider MOIA) will commercialize such travel in Europe from 2025. But already this summer in Munich, where the European wing of Argo AI is located, Volkswagen will begin tests of prototypes of unmanned shuttles based on the ID electric car. Buzz (it has yet to be serialized).