GM has filed a patent application for a new LiDAR detection and ranging system. The system could be used in conjunction with upcoming GM autonomous vehicle technology.
The GM patent filing has been assigned application number US 11,604,258 B2 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and was published on March 14th, 2023. The patent was originally filed on January 17th, 2020, and lists several Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including Nathaniel W. Hart, Michelle M. Clem, and Adam L. Wright, as well as Israel-based engineer Tzvi Philipp.
The patent describes a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor array that includes a LiDAR sensor and linear resonant actuator. The LiDAR sensor incorporates a laser array and detector array, as well as a transmitting lens and receiving lens, while the linear resonant actuator is arranged so as to oscillate portions of the LiDAR sensor.
LiDAR technology has been in use in various applications since the ‘60s, but has become increasingly popular in passenger vehicles following the proliferation of autonomous and semi-autonomous driving systems. The system works by emitting a laser, then measuring the time it takes for the light to be reflected back to the receiver. This measurement can then be used to determine the distance between a given object and the receiver, creating an accurate 3D map of a given space and the objects within it.
As already mentioned, this technology has found a use in passenger vehicles via autonomous and semi-autonomous technologies, providing onboard self-driving systems with the data and mapping information required to successfully navigate a novel space, including an environment that may be changing in real time.
LiDAR mapping systems have already provided critical data for GM’s Super Cruise system, mapping out more than 200,000 of roads in the U.S. and Canada. What’s more, LiDAR is expected to be part of the suite of sensors to be used by Ultra Cruise, GM’s next-generation autonomous driving system, which will also leverage data provided by radar systems and visual cameras.