Volvo Cars moves one step closer to autonomous driving

Elle Farrell-Kingsley explores the importance of combination sensors in the future of autonomous driving

With the rise of autonomous vehicles (AVs) comes sensor innovation and development. Sensors take AVs to the next level, offering greater safety through detection and machine learning. Autonomous sensors fall into two categories—active and passive sensors.

Special report: Vehicle sensing and monitoring systems

Active sensors send out energy in the form of a wave, searching for objects based on the data detected. One example is radar, which emits radio waves that are returned by reflective objects in the beam's path. Comparatively, passive sensors take in the information about the environment without emitting a wave, such as a camera.

Volvo Cars will unveil its next fully electric flagship SUV later this year, incorporating a multitude of active and passive sensors. Interestingly, the car will feature eight cameras, five radars, 16 ultrasonic sensors, and one forward-looking light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensor. "Each sensor has its own strengths, so we are not reliant on just one sensor. Their combination and interpretation by our core computer offer a new level of understanding of the environment," comments Volvo Cars’ Strategic Product Owner of ADAS and Autonomous Drive, Patrik Björler.

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