LiDAR set to underpin the upcoming revolution in driverless areas across multiple transport sectors.

Photonic sensors, and in particular LiDAR (laser range sensing), will underpin the upcoming revolution in driverless areas, and can enable autonomy and provide augmented sensing across multiple transport sectors including maritime, rail and aviation. This represents a substantial opportunity for the UK but, according to a recent workshop, action is needed to make this happen.

It had been commented that cost and performance of current LiDAR systems may present a barrier to wider adoption, and that this presents an opportunity for UK industry to provide improved sources, sensors, optics and system integration. To address this opportunity, KTN brought together a cross section of representatives from the transport and photonics sectors to examine the potential for the UK to take a leading role in LiDAR for transport.  Representatives from Jaguar Land Rover, the Environment Agency and Network Rail outlined some of the application challenges, with Photonic Vision, Red Sensors and the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics describing UK commercial and research activity. This set the scene for a busy workshop session to capture the thoughts of the assembled community.

It was concluded that the UK has a great deal to offer in technical capability across much of the supply chain, but action is needed to make this happen. LiDAR sensors need to reduce in cost for mass adoption, and data fusion with other sensors will be an important factor. There are many different solutions at the moment so standards and specifications are need to ensure interoperability.

A number of specific actions were identified, these include the formation of a formal or informal group of interested parties, including automotive and photonics; raising awareness of public and private investors; and development of a sensors roadmap. To find out more about the event and to register interest in contributing to future activity contact Mat Wasley.

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