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The Detroit auto show kicked off this week with glitzy, high-production value debuts of mostly sports cars, giant trucks and SUVs—new versions of age-old themes.
But tucked away in a corner of the show were the people and companies hoping for at least a little bit of the attention: the car of the future.
Startups - Vehicle - Experience - Designers - Sensor
They were the autonomous startups, the vehicle experience designers, sensor makers and research universities all competing with the glare from of those shiny new cars.
At the booth of Velodyne LiDAR, which makes laser scanning automotive eyes, a giant monitor showed the surrounding environment just as an autonomous car might see it: full of dots and circles.
Technology - Cars - World - Dimensions - Systems
The technology helps cars see the world in three dimensions. But it is decidedly not ready to guide self-driving systems. Something as simple as bug splatter can frustrate the laser eyes' ability to see.
"As our customers get more involved into the development, they find issues which seem obvious which were not part of our original specs, like rain, ice, rocks"—and yes, bugs, said Philippe Schricke of Velodyne.
Schricke - Challenges - Challenges
Schricke said one of the challenges is figuring out who is responsible for solving challenges.
Does the carmaker need to figure out how to keep the car's laser eyes clean? Or do the laser eyes need to work even when they are dirty?
Contraption - Golf - Cart
Nearby, a contraption vaguely resembling a giant open-air golf cart...
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