The FMCW LiDAR technology will alter the course of automated cars and robots and how their vision, along with reactive aspects, will operate.
Just like you can’t always depend on your memory, robots cannot entirely depend on their optical functionality. This is where LiDAR technology, that is Light Detection and Ranging comes in. More and more robotic companies have begun incorporating LiDAR technology into directing their sensory obligations. Robotic eyes differ a lot from human eyes, as they don’t possess retinas, but with emerging technologies around the world, it was imperative to find a more naturally combustible tactic for them to access the world. The answer was Optical Coherence Tomography, or OCT, devices.
Since LiDAR’s inception, many automobile companies have exponentially invested in the technologies it offers, as it functions like a radar. Earlier, the technology was used to send broad waves and look for reflections that boomeranged back, but more recently it utilizes the short pulses of light from lasers. However, there are multiple cons to using traditional LiDAR. As its premise revolves around detecting signals that might be weak, have a limited depth resolution, or take a great amount of time to scan large areas, some researchers are turning their faces to Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) LiDAR.
Most of FMCW’s LiDAR groundwork is rooted in the principles of OCT, which the biomedical engineering field has been vividly studying for the last three decades. As no one could have envisaged auto-driven cars or the need for robots that long ago, the technology was employed for tissue imaging. With the current developments around the world, the technology will come in handy for dialing up the speed and distance aspect instead of its high-resolution functionality.
The FMCW is operated by sending in light signals and registering the time it takes to reflect back, quite similar to how house ultrasound works. This will drastically increase any robot’s functionality in safely navigating and collaborating with humans. It can easily detect varying frequencies and light sources in a short span of time. FMCW LiDAR technology will assist the system in covering wide areas without compromising on the depth or location accuracy. OCT devices incorporate microscopic constituents several millimeters within an object, but this was altered and replaced by searching only for the major signal proposed by any object surface. As a result, the resolution quality did take a small hit, but widened the imaging range and welcomed a faster response time.
This small little tweak paved the way for retrieving 25 times more data than any early version of the same. The FMCW method is a revolutionary advancement in recording and registering quick body movements, be it a jerk caused by a bump or a clenched hand on the steering wheel in real-time. A lot of accidents and misjudgments can be avoided using the technique.
Our understanding of the world is linear, but our vision is 3D. So it’s not only crucial but a step towards our future that any automated system in the world sees and comprehends the world the same way we do if you want to derail any chances of backfiring and have a natural and safe way of interaction.