Waymo to share its 3D perimeter LiDAR with partners
Waymo announced that it is making one of its sensors available to companies outside of self-driving—beginning with robotics, security, agricultural technology, and more. Its 3D LiDAR sensor, known as Laser Bear Honeycomb, will be available to select partners.
Laser Bear Honeycomb is a perimeter sensor—the same sensor around the bumper of self-driving vehicles. The Honeycomb features a wide field of view (FOV), with a vertical FOV of 95°, plus a 360° horizontal FOV.
In addition, the sensor features multiple returns per pulse. When the Honeycomb sends out a pulse of light, it is reportedly able to "see" up to four different objects in that laser beam’s line of sight (e.g., it can see both the foliage in front of a tree branch and the tree branch itself). This is intended to give a rich and more detailed view of the environment while uncovering objects that might otherwise be missed.
Furthermore, the Honeycomb has a minimum range of zero. This means that it can see objects immediately in front of the sensor, which enables key capabilities such as near object detection and avoidance.
Waymo says that offering this LiDAR to its partners helps spur the growth of applications outside of self-driving cars and also propels the business forward.