Six autonomous car technology companies are in Ypsilanti making their pitch to companies from around the world to adopt their technology. Velodyne, whose cars can identify the trajectory of any car within 200 meters to 300 meters (660 feet to 980 feet), is the oldest company. Ouster, whose CEO says they make leaner and smarter autonomous cars than the competition, represents the Bay Area.
The cars made by these companies use LiDar technology, similar to radar. LiDar uses light from a laser as the car’s “eyes,” and are typically stationed on the car’s roof. They “see” cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles in a 360 degree circumference around the car. Human drivers only look in one direction at a time. Car makers also say they have situational awareness programmed within. Inside the car, passengers can use screens to easily see where other cars and obstacles are in relation to the car.
In some regions cars like the Audi A8 already use LiDar technology. Company representatives say it is no longer a question of when we will see this technology in cars. It’s a question of when it will arrive in certain areas of the country.