What is lidar?
Lidar—short for light radar—is widely seen as a key sensor technology for self-driving cars. By sending out laser pulses and measuring how long it takes for them to bounce back, lidar builds a detailed 3-D map of a car’s surroundings.
The first generation of automotive lidar sits on top of the car, spinning around to collect a panoramic 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings. These mechanical systems have worked well enough for building self-driving car prototypes, but their complexity makes it hard to achieve the low cost and durability required for the mass market.
Here’s how it works: