Argo AI 'breakthrough' lidar technology has 400 m range

May 05, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Argo AI 'breakthrough' lidar technology has 400 m range
Autonomous driving technology company Argo AI has announced new lidar technology that it says enables its self-driving system to overcome the limitations preventing most competitors from commercializing autonomous delivery and ride-hail services.

By detecting the most difficult-to-see objects from farther away and with more precision with Argo Lidar technology, says the company, its Self-Driving System (SDS) is capable of 360-degrees awareness day or night and can safely drive on busy city streets, suburban neighborhoods, and now at highway speeds. This breakthrough in autonomous vehicle technology was enabled by the company's 2017 acquisition of a company ( Princeton Lightwave ) developing an innovative form of long-range lidar.

The result is a sensor believed to be the industry’s longest-distance sensing range capability of 400 meters, with dark-object detection for safe highway driving. Argo Lidar also offers ultra-high resolution perception, providing the photorealistic imaging required to identify small objects for safe operation on complex city streets.

"Argo Lidar takes us to a whole new level of self-driving technology, unlocking our ability to power both delivery and ride-hail services," says Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI. "The Argo Self-Driving System delivers the safety, scale and service experience that businesses want and their customers demand, especially coming out of the pandemic."

The innovation behind Argo Lidar is known as "Geiger-mode" sensing. Argo AI’s proprietary Geiger-mode lidar has the ability to detect the smallest particle of light — a single photon — and is key to sensing objects with low reflectivity. This, says the company, combined with higher-wavelength operation above 1400 nanometers, gives Argo Lidar its unique capabilities, including longer-range, higher-resolution, lower-reflectivity detection and full 360° field of view—all from a single sensor.

Alongside custom-designed sensors and high-performance computing, Argo Lidar is offered as the centerpiece of the Argo SDS. It is designed to handle the most complex aspects of human driving, such as:

  • Seeing the darkest of black-painted vehicles—those that reflect less than 1% of light even at long range and in the pitch blackness of night
  • Safely navigating left-hand turns onto roads with oncoming high-speed traffic by utilizing a 360° field of view
  • Managing

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