Drone maker DJI has set up a team to develop self-driving cars. Reuters writes this based on vacancies that have appeared online and sources familiar with the company’s strategy.
According to job postings, DJI is looking for engineers for automotive electronics, autonomous driving and in-car software, Reuters news agency reported. The lyrics can no longer be found on the DJI site. Reuters also spoke to anonymous sources familiar with the company’s strategy. They confirm that DJI wants to focus on self-driving cars. DJI has not commented on the news.
Two sources indicate that the Chinese manufacturer has been working on lidar technology and cameras for a while. This would happen, among other things, through the DJI-linked start-up Livox. That company has now released five lidar sensors and in early January Livox announced that it was collaborating with the Chinese car manufacturer Xpeng to start mass production of lidar sensors for the automotive industry in 2021.
Lidar is a technology that is used quite often in self-driving cars, among other things, in combination with radar and cameras. That is the combination of different types of sensors that many manufacturers use in self-driving cars. Tesla, on the other hand, deliberately ignores lidar and instead focuses on a combination of several cameras, supplemented with a radar, GPS and a dozen ultrasonic sensors. Lidar systems quickly produce a multitude of laser pulses to map the immediate environment. Because the wavelength of laser light is much smaller than that of radio waves from radar, a self-driving car with lidar is better able to see small objects and thus create a more detailed image of the environment. However, radar works again at a longer distance. In most lidars, the distance to objects is determined by calculating the time-of-flight.
At the end of December, Reuters also wrote that Apple is working on self-driving cars that should be released in 2024. Those would be aimed at the consumer market and the lidar technology that those cars are supposed to use would be derived from the cool sensors in iPhones. In December, Uber decided to sell its self-driving car business to start-up Aurora, although it continues to invest in the development of the cars in order to be able to purchase them in the future.