Envisioning the future of autonomous vehicles

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Opportunities for experiential learning abound as Lehigh engineering faculty teach new technologies, develop novel systems to control robotic cars

LiDAR (shorthand for “light detection and ranging”) has been hailed as a game-changer in the race toward developing a truly “driverless” car, or what the Society of Automotive Engineers defines as a Level 5 autonomous vehicle (AV). 

“The technology is similar to radar and sonar, in that the device sends out a pulse, which bounces back signals to detect obstacles,” explains Yahong Rosa Zheng, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. “LiDAR uses a narrow beam of light to very quickly scan the area and create a ‘point cloud’ that provides highly accurate range information.”

Fed into an algorithm, LiDAR data—which is more manageable in size and requires less computation than what’s captured by RGB cameras—allows the vehicle to accurately perceive its surroundings and navigate a clear, safe path. 

Read full article by Katie Kackenmeister, assistant director of communications, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science