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LiDAR ADAS : What is it, How it is used and their benefits

ADAS stands for Automatic Driver Assistance System. The automotive industry is going through a transformation of fully autonomous and semi autonomous systems. In autonomous systems, one technology that is gaining significant traction is the LiDAR ADAS system. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, which is a Light sensor that shines a laser or a infrared light to the objects in the surroundings and finds the distance by calculating the time taken for reflected light to reach the sensor.

LiDAR is a sensor technology that pulses laser lights to measure the distance and create a 2D or a 3D map of the environment based on the LiDAR sensor used. In most cases, the automotive vehicles use 3D lidars where more features can be extracted for better detection. This data that is calculated is called the point cloud data. This data gives the map of the environment for driver assistance and autonomous driving.

Why LIDAR is used in ADAS

A question might arise to someone when reading that LiDAR is used in finding the position in the map which can be done with GPS. But the problem with the GPS is that the GPS data is not so accurate with meters of accuracy tolerance. Even with advanced GPS techniques such as DGPS, accuracy can be improved but real time 3D perception of the environment and the ability to respond to current scenario needs assistance of LiDAR system for high precision autonomy.

Benefits of LiDAR ADAS

  • One of the crucial benefits that the ADAS LIDAR provides is the higher object detection and object tracking capabilities. LiDARs produce a high resolution point cloud data that lets the ADAS system to recognize and differentiate the objects with high precision. This data can also be used in detecting pedestrians, cyclists and even stationary objects which helps the ADAS system to respond appropriately for the coming scenarios.
  • LiDAR is used in creating and updating the maps of the environment in real time. LiDARs are used along with the Camera providing both the image and the 3D perception of the environment, which helps the ADAS system to provide position and localize the vehicle in the map.
  • ADAS LIDAR technology helps significantly to advance the safety feature. For instance, the LiDAR equipped systems engage braking systems automatically when a collision environment is detected which reduces the chances for lethal accidents. The Adaptive Cruise Control System ( ACC ) in modern cars uses LiDAR data to ensure following the safe distance and adjust speed in real time for the current environment.

Challenges with Using LiDAR in ADAS

Cost: While the LiDARs offer high potential in overcoming hurdles in autonomous systems, the cost of very quality and reliable lidar is higher. However, LiDAR manufacturing has increased multiple folds in recent years and the rise in competition also decreased LiDAR prices but it is nowhere near the affordable range.

Environment: Modern day LiDARs are very much resilient to harsh environments, but in environments such as heavy snow and high reflective environments on a sunny day can cause reflections which can go above the rated LUX causing inefficiency in readings.

Regulations: When LiDAR provides high assistance in driving, this also puts it in the radar of the regulatory bodies to look into the potential moral scenarios where full autonomy can struggle to decide.

Applications of ADAS LiDAR

Adaptive Cruise Control ( ACC ):

ACC, is a technology that automatically adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance when following the vehicle in front.

Collision Avoidance Systems:

Detecting Potential collisions and trigger the warning system and also the braking system to avoid rear collisions and accidents.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA):

LDW alerts the driver when a vehicle drifts and goes out of the lane without signaling the vehicles in the lane.

LKA intervenes in the processing of the steering of the vehicle back into the lane when there is a gentle drifting out.

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB):

AEBs monitor the roads ahead and initiate emergency braking if a collision is detected. This reduces accidents especially in stop and go traffic.

Pedestrian Detection and Protection:

Camera and LiDAR sensors are used to identify any object and classify them if they are pedestrians and cyclists and warn the drivers of the potential for them to be in the blind spot.

Lidar vs Ladar


LiDAR ADAS is a revolutionizing tech in the automotive industry that provides great safety enhancements and provides a way for autonomous driving. Though the safety it provides is great, the cost for these systems are also high thus making it inaccessible for most people. As this tech evolves, the path ahead seems promising that this will become affordable and become the new normal.

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