iDAR is far more than LiDAR…

AEye solves the challenges of robotic vision for autonomous vehicles with a novel approach to artificial perception. We began by simply asking—

“What is the best way to design a perception system for a self-driving car that is safe, deployable, and efficient?”

Answering this question led to the development of iDAR, AEye’s innovative artificial perception platform which mimics how the human visual cortex conceptually focuses on and evaluates the environment around the vehicle, driving conditions, and road hazards.

iDAR stands for Intelligent Detection and Ranging

Current LiDAR sensors rely on an array of independent sensors that collectively produce a tremendous amount of data. This requires lengthy processing time and massive computing power to collect and assemble data sets by aligning, analyzing, correcting, down sampling, and translating them into actionable information that can be used to safely guide the vehicle.

In addition, these systems lack intelligence and gather information indiscriminately about the environment. They do not take into account how conditions evolve or know how to balance competing priorities and often respond poorly to complex or dangerous situations by assigning every pixel the same priority.

iDAR solves those challenges.

In its first instantiation, iDAR takes solid-state agile LiDAR, fuses it with a low-light HD camera, then integrates artificial intelligence to create a smart perception sensor that is fully software extensible.

AEye’s iDAR combines breakthrough innovations to solve critical challenges in perception and path planning.

The bottom line is this: Correctly implemented iDAR increases the speed of a car’s self-driving perception system by up to 10 times, while reducing power consumption 5 to 10 times. It does this by decreasing how much data is conveyed to the motion-planning system—in many cases, by more than 90 percent.

What Is iDAR?

iDAR is a system designed to adapt to new technologies and algorithms, continually evolving to minimize cost and maximize performance of the Camera/LiDAR combination.

Dynamic Vixels – Integration of 2D Camera and 3D Agile LiDAR

AEye’s iDAR technology enables vehicles to see and perceive like people so self-driving cars can intelligently assess hazards and respond to changing conditions. An innovation at the core of this capability is Dynamic Vixels, a new sensor data type that combines pixels from 2D cameras with voxels from LiDAR.

This real-time integration of pixels and voxels means the data is handled more quickly, efficiently, and accurately at the sensor level, rather than in later processing. The resulting content empowers artificial intelligence to evaluate a scene using 2D, 3D, and 4D information to identify location, track objects, and deliver insights with less latency, bandwidth, and computer power.

In essence, using this new data type within iDAR’s architecture makes it possible to give self-driving cars better-than-human reflexes without the distraction factor that we humans are prone to. So the autonomous vehicle with iDAR can more intelligently assess and respond to conditions in the environment, improving safety and efficiency.

Agile LiDAR

iDAR uses the world’s first solid-state Agile LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).

AEye’s system is solid-state micro-opto mechanical (MOEMS) which offers extremely fast scanning and automotive reliability in a small form factor that is designed to be mass produced at a fraction of the cost of existing sensors.

While AEye’s Agile LiDAR delivers ranges up to 300 meters at high resolution, its ability to dynamically adapt its scanning patterns and to identify and focus on specific regions of interest within a single frame is what really gets perception engineers excited. Integrating embedded artificial intelligence enables the system to learn and adapt as driving situations change.

Leveraging the unique capabilities of Dynamic Vixel data means AEye’s Agile LiDAR can target and identify objects within a scene 10 times to 20 times more accurately than LiDAR-only products—and deliver the information 10 times faster.

The result is greater accuracy and longer range than existing LiDAR sensors along with greater safety and performance at lower cost.

Artificial Intelligence and Software Extensibility

Embedded artificial intelligence enables iDAR to use thousands of existing and custom computer vision algorithms for insights that can be leveraged by path-planning software.

Current LiDAR-only solutions lack this intelligence and face severe limitations in their ability to respond to changing conditions.

Current LiDAR-only solutions simply collect as much data as possible without discretion and pass it to a central processor where 75 to 95 percent of it is discarded because it is redundant or useless. This creates a huge strain on interrogation times, bandwidth and processing, causing latency.

With Agile targeting and intelligence in the data collection process, the iDAR system collects and/or selects and analyzes only the data that matters—without missing anything.

This scalable, software-definable approach allows the system to capture more intelligent information with fewer data, enabling much faster perception and path planning—key to the safe rollout of autonomous vehicles.

iDAR is greater than LiDAR.