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Revolutionizing ADAS with forward-looking lidar, part I

The first installment in a multipart series on the potential lifesaving and cost-saving benefits of an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) with forward-looking lidar.

Most vehicle crashes are forward-facing and result from driver error. Although automakers are striving to develop advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) to prevent these crashes, there is still significant room for improvement. This multipart series explores how adding one cost-effective directional lidar (light detection and ranging) sensor would contribute to the prevention of forward-facing crashes.


Defining the problem

According to our analysis of 2016 figures provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least half of all crashes resulting in death, injury, or property damage were multi-vehicle collisions in which at least one vehicle was forward-facing.[1] Altogether, in 2016, this type of crash caused more than 12,000 fatalities; 1,200,000 injuries; and 2,700,000 additional reports of property damage only.[2] These multi-vehicle crashes include front-to-rear collisions, which comprised 32.6% of all 2016 crashes, and head-on collisions, which represented 2.6%. In addition, 20.9% of 2016 crashes were multi-vehicle collisions that occurred at an angle; it is reasonable to conclude that, in the vast majority of angle crashes, one vehicle experiences frontal impact.


Read the first installment in the series in SAE International's Automated and Connected Knowledge Hub. 


Dr. David Heeren is the Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager at Velodyne Lidar Inc.  

Dr. Mircea Gradu is the Senior Vice President of Validation and Chief Quality Officer at Velodyne Lidar Inc. 


[1] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Crashes by First Harmful Event, Manner of Collision, and Crash Severity, 2016,”

[2] These statistics are conservative because they reflect reported incidents, which may have involved multiple fatalities or injuries.


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