Waymo spills the self-driving details on its latest car tech

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 4, 2020, 2:01pm CST
Waymo spills the self-driving details on its latest car tech

Waymo has taken the wraps off its fifth-generation Waymo Driver system, detailing the technology that works to power self-driving cars and protect the people on the road. The latest version of Waymo Driver has been live in the San Francisco Bay Area for months, according to the company, which explains that the latest hardware sensor suite means its Jaguar I-Paces electric vehicles ‘look a little different’ from its past cars.

Waymo Driver is the combination of hardware and software that enables the company’s cars to drive themselves. ‘No one type of sensor on its own’ can deeply perceive and understand the environment around the car, according to the company. Rather, the autonomous cars are made possible by a ‘single integrated system’ that features many sensors capable of monitoring complex environments.

The fifth-generation Waymo Driver features lidar, cameras, and radars, including a new perimeter vision system and peripheral vision system for spying objects close to the vehicle and in the car’s blind spots. According to Waymo, its 360 vision system and long-range cameras are also able to see over greater distances, enabling the car’s system to spot pedestrians located more than 1,600ft away.

The cameras work alongside lidar to provide the vehicles with a 360-degree FOV of the surrounding environment, making it possible to determine the distance and size of objects located as far as 984ft away. The new 360 lidar system and perimeter lidars work to detect obstacles located both far away and close to the vehicle, including debris in the road, open car doors, cyclists, and more.

Radar joins all of this, enabling the vehicles to instantly perceive and measure a nearby object’s velocity even if it’s snowing, raining, or foggy out. Waymo says its fifth-generation Waymo Driver features the first-ever imaging radar system made for self-driving vehicles, offering what the company calls an ‘unparalleled resolution, range, and field of view’ covering the whole environment.


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