Airbus is testing LiDAR technology to make flying safer
Luminar expands its LiDAR system beyond autonomous vehicles for the first time, and is collaborating with the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer to bring laser-guided mapping and visualization technology to new heights.
The LiDAR system is a laser sensor that sends out millions of laser points per second and measures how long it takes to bounce off, seen as an essential component of autonomous driving.
Luminar and Airbus hope to operate an ultimately safe and independent flight with the LiDAR system.
“We are able to directly re-apply what we have accomplished directly to the automotive industry in aviation, an established industry valued at nearly a trillion dollars,” said the founder and CEO of Luminar.
He added: More than 10 percent of helicopter crashes happen by simply landing on objects, such as wires, that can be avoided altogether.
Airbus is testing takeoff and landing technology for ATTOL taxis through UpNext.
It says it has completed fully autonomous test flights in 2020, and the company will likely use the LiDAR system for flying taxis as well as helicopters and aircraft.
Luminar and Airbus hope to make safety improvements to existing aircraft with LiDAR, and Luminar believes its technology could help pilots avoid some accidents.
Together with Airbus, Luminar is working with several prominent automakers, as Volvo starts selling cars with LiDAR add-ons next year so they are fully autonomous on the highways.
Luminar has also struck deals with Audi, Toyota, Mobileye and the trucking arm of Daimler, which has invested in the company.
In addition to manufacturing giant passenger jets, Airbus is also interested in small battery-powered air taxis commonly referred to as urban air travel, which are small helicopters with electric motors that can be used for short trips within cities.