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AutonoMusings - Driving the World Daily

AutonoMusings - Driving the World Daily
By Joshua Ouellette • Issue #13 • View online
Welcome to AutonoMusings’ Lucky Number 13!
In our previous edition, there was an article about Australian startup Baraja and their new approach to LIDAR. Their technology makes use of a wavelength-tunable laser and prisms to direct the laser beams without using any moving parts. The promise of such a setup would be a simpler system (read: less expensive) with fewer parts that could break.
That claim was met with skepticism by some of our readers well-versed in the LIDAR space. Their doubts seem to have been partially vindicated. In an interview with Wired, Bajara’s CEO confirmed that they still use a “mechanical aid” to aim the laser in the horizontal plane. That sounds a lot like they’re still spinning or twitching a mirror.
We’ll be keeping an eye on Bajara. It will be interesting to see how they approach redundancy. Tunable lasers are expensive, and having two would be even more so. Also, their 90 degree sensors don’t appear to have overlapping fields of view. So, any failed sensor would result in a blind-spot – a problem 360 degree LIDAR sensors ameliorate.
In any case, we appreciate all of the ingenuity going into the LIDAR space! The entire field of robotics will benefit from the technological improvements and price reductions coming from companies competing to supply autonomous vehicles.

This Week in Autonomous Vehicles
Uber’s autonomous cars downshift into manual mode in Pittsburgh
Waymo racks up a million autonomous miles in one month
Robots of Disaster
Before diving into our next two articles, notice that they are both about robots for “disaster response” and “search and rescue”. Whenever I see those phrases, I just replace them with “messy environments.” People would rather imagine their robots saving lives in the rubble of a post-disaster wasteland than admit that most robots today would have a hard time maneuvering over a pile of dirty laundry. Fortunately, a lot of smart people are hard at work on that problem.
New Centaur-like robot is designed to save lives in disasters
DARPA to host Olympics for micro-bots
Public Service Announcement
Research robots often left unsecured on the internet
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Joshua Ouellette

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