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Proposed NHTSA legislation on LiDAR a threat for most; an opportunity for Opsys

Updated: Jun 23

What is the proposed ruling for NHTSA legislation on LiDAR?

NHTSA legislation on LiDAR

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this year a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require automatic emergency braking and pedestrian AEB systems on passenger cars and light trucks. The proposed rule is expected to dramatically reduce accidents associated with pedestrians and rear-end crashes.

The NHTSA’s proposed rule is a major safety advancement. If adopted as proposed, nearly all U.S. light vehicles (gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less) will be required to have AEB technology three years after the publication of a final rule. NHTSA Chief Counsel Ann Carlson from the NHTSA said, "we've seen the benefits of the AEB system in some passenger vehicles already even at lower speeds, and we want to expand the use of the technology to save even more lives. That's why our proposed rule would require all cars to be able to stop and avoid contact with a vehicle in front of them up to 62 miles per hour. And the proposal would require pedestrian AEB, including requiring that AEB recognize and avoid pedestrians at night."

In the future cars will have to do more than ever before

Although this proposed legislation will save lives, it could impose two important challenges for ADAS systems, especially for the sensors. They will need to function perfectly at higher speeds, as well as at night or in poor lighting conditions and offer safety for vulnerable road users (VRUs). LiDARs are predestined to detect obstacles and objects reliably, and in good time, in these conditions.

How is Opsys meeting these challenges

Opsys’ LiDAR provides the best detection, actual location, and movement of an object relative to the vehicle for the purpose of controlling the car and preventing a collision. It is best done using a real time, high-speed 3D sensor which is the LiDAR. A high-speed solid state scanning LiDAR will be the best type of sensor for such an application – which is what Opsys’ technology is based on.

The Opsys LiDAR can be used for both close-range and long-range detection. It can "see" up to 300 meters away. Unlike conventional LiDAR, it does not work with a classic laser beam, which is why it is safe for the eye. This is because the measurement process works completely differently to a conventional flashing or beam LiDAR, thanks to the fact that it is a completely semiconductor-based sensor. And yet it is hardly affected by rain or snow due to the frequency at which it operates.

Opsys democratizing effective safety systems by bringing down costs

As the traffic regulation extends to light vehicles, and therefore also to smaller vehicles in price-sensitive segments, it is important for a LiDAR developer like Opsys to consider not only the size but also the price to avoid making these vehicles unnecessarily expensive.  Until now, a LiDAR sensor has not been cheap, even in series production. As the LiDAR from Opsys is purely semiconductor-based, there are no upward price jumps, and it is also robust against ageing and failure later in use.

For vehicle developers who now must train their ADAS and semi-automated driving systems, or rather their algorithms, for higher requirements in view of the new regulation, the Opsys LiDAR offers the advantage that it generates more original data in traffic situations than other LiDARs. This data is available for sensor data fusion and thus improves the system's ability to recognize objects correctly and define them as obstacles even at higher speeds and in poor visibility. You could also say that Opsys make ADAS and autonomous driving systems smarter!

The US is paving the way for safer roads with this proposed legislation

NHTSA legislation on LiDAR

Adding this proposed NHTSA legislation on LiDAR to vehicles' functionality will save lives and be able to prevent or reduce the impact of a significant number of car accidents. Although for many companies involved in the progression of autonomous driving and ADAS may see this new legislation as a threat, for Opsys, it presents an even bigger opportunity to save lives and contribute to road safety all round.


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