The Chinese manufacturer DJI decided to enter the sensor market for good Coping (Light Detection And Ranging) mainstream with the presentation of two new products for this market segment – sensors Horizon and Tele-15. They use scanning technology Livox, which promises better performance and only a small portion of the price normally charged by traditional Lidar systems. DJI's promise that it will be possible to deploy five Horizon units together for 360 coverage, with only 5% of the cost of a 64 line mechanical Lidar.
The firmware comes with the version number 01.00.400.
Lidar are active remote sensors that offer a direct method of capturing data. They are placed on manned platforms or not and emit laser beams in the infrared range to model the surface of a location in three dimensions. This technique is used mainly in topographic surveys and one of its advantages will not be affected by the lack of light or other variables.
With its new releases, DJI seeks to popularize technologies that are made possible by these sensors: mobile robotics, smart cities, mapping and the standalone devices. Horizon and Tele-15 are high-performance handle sensors designed for applications in cars with autonomous steering in classes L3 and L4, for example.
"The growth potential of the Lidar industry has been hampered for a long time by ultra high costs and slow manufacturing rates." – Official statement from DJI.
Livox-type sensors use a different scanning pattern than traditional mechanical technologies. They are detecting the environment around them through a flower-shaped pattern, which creates an increasingly complete and faithful image as time goes by.
That decreases the risk of blind spots, which are a relatively common occurrence in traditional Lidar technology. Making almost 100% of the field of vision detected is one of the most expensive things in the Lidar mechanical sensors and, by using the flower-shaped technique, Livox technology considerably reduces the cost of production.
The DJI Horizon has a range of 260 meter detection, with a horizontal field of view (HFOV) of 81.7. That would be enough to cover four lanes of road over a distance of ten meters.
This coverage rate can be compared with that offered by a 64 line mechanical Lidar with an integration time of 0.1 second. Again, the use of five units Horizon allows a total coverage of 360 and costs just 5% of a 64-line mechanical deal.
By using this technology in thousands of cars in a fleet of robotic taxis, for example, this economy is increasing.
The Tele-15 was developed to advanced long-distance detection. He can "find" an object to up to 500 meters away and promises to scan 99.8% of the area within its circular field of view from 15 to 0.1s – numbers that surpass the mechanical handling of 128 lines currently available on the market.
To give a practical idea of what this sensor could do: with it, autonomous cars could identify foreign objects well in advance, increasing the reaction time even at high speeds and preventing accidents.
More than 2,900 Livox deal sensor units have been tested for use in various environmental conditions. In addition, they can be used on several platforms, since the Livox SDK supports several operating systems, such as Linux, Windows, ROS and development languages like C, C ++ and Python.
"Through our technology, we hope to be the catalyst for Lidar's rapid adoption in fast-growing industries such as autonomous driving, mobile robotics, mapping, topography and more." – Official statement from DJI.
The Livox Horizon will be available from tomorrow, January 7, 2020, and the Tele-15 will arrive in the second quarter of 2020. The first will be sold by $ 999, while the second increases to $ 1,499. In small quantities, the sensors can be purchased at the DJI online store.
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