CES 2020: Innovusion Falcon LiDAR Sensor Watches Traffic Better Than A Human Eye
A new animal is coming to CES. Following the release of its Jaguar and Cheetah LiDAR sensors, Innovusion is releasing what calls its “most advanced LiDAR system,” the Falcon, at CES this week. Innovusion says the Falcon perceives the world in a way that allows it to surpass the sight capability of a human eye.
LiDAR, which stands for light-detection and ranging, sensors are a key component to developing autonomous vehicles, as they can detect obstacles through rain, fog and without much light. Of Innovusion's two other LiDAR sensors on the market, the Jaguar 100 is a long-distance, image-grade sensor while the Cheetah (pictured below) is a high-definition sensor. The main difference between the two is size, with the two-piece Cheetah solution being designed for applications where space is limited and so the scan head is located in one box while the laser and control electronics are in a different box. The slightly larger Jaguar is a single box solution and is available with different field of view options. So far, Innovusion has sold more than a hundred of its LiDAR units.
"While we cannot give the exact number for the on-vehicle installation, we can confirm that majority of them were installed in the Chinese market with a very good reliability record," Junwei Bao, the CEO and co-founder of Innovusion, told me.
Innovusion says its new Falcon sensor will offer “highly competitive pricing for automotive ADAS systems” and “enable all vehicle makers to capture complex visuals at a greater distance.”
It's not just automobiles that could benefit from Innovusion's new Falcon sensor, Bao said. Buses and trains can take advantage of LiDAR technology even if they're not capable of full autonomous driving.
“The braking distance is usually very long for trains and buses,” he said. “So the long detection for small obstacles, as small as 20 centimeters high, allows smooth slow-down operation.”
Innovusion has also deployed some of its LiDAR units at busy intersections and along roadways, Bao said.
“With our high density point cloud and non-repetitive scanning pattern, we can detect all the details of every object in LiDAR’s field of view, as well as small debris on the road,” he said. “In many scenarios a non-blocking view is only possible with road-side sensors due to blind spots by other vehicles, etc. Compared to cameras, the inherent advantage of LiDAR's 3D point cloud allows very reliable perception results using very efficient compute power, and works 24-7 without being affected by lighting conditions.”
Innovusion was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. In 2018, the company had a successful, $30-million A round of funding led by NIO Capital, a fund manager started by the Chinese electric vehicle company NIO, with participation from F-Prime Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, Banyan Capital and Gaorang Capital.