Autonomous Tech @ CES 2019

The promise of autonomous cars holds a great deal of interest for me. Both as someone who loves to drive, and someone who would love to have to actually drive the car less. For me these are discrete activities. Bit of snow on the ground, or a nice (empty) winding road, I want to have some fun. But the slog through rush hour traffic or mindless hours out in the cornlands… So I made a point to check out, and have a chat with, all the related product vendors I could find at the show. Two stood out – WaveSense and RoboSense. For very different reasons.

WaveSense was interesting because they are doing something completely different. Their technology uses ground-penetrating radar to create underground maps of roads/lanes which the car can read to know exactly where it is when driving itself. Obviously this would be a complimentary tech, but it’s a really cool way to think about the problem of lane detection.

RoboSense does LIDAR, which isn’t unique. The thing that makes their tech cool is the cost: $200 per/unit. Unlike other LIDAR systems, which place a spinning sensor on the top of the car. RoboSense is a solid-state device that is built into five locations in the car; dramatically lowering the cost of building a LIDAR equipped automobile. Very cool