Volvo Car’s ‘no-show’ display at Automobility LA show
Volvo Cars created another world-first at the recent Automobility LA show: not a single car on the stand.
Since motor shows were introduced, the car has always been a centrepiece, though, against a backdrop featuring a display titled ‘This is not a car”, the company instead used the Los Angeles event to continue redefining what a car can be – including a demonstration of the most advanced LiDAR sensor and perception capabilities yet.
The latest step in the ongoing development of LiDAR was showcased in partnership with Luminar, a leading start-up in the development of core sensing technology for autonomous vehicles.
LiDAR, which uses pulsed laser signals to detect objects, is a crucial element in creating safe autonomous cars. It allows autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments and at higher speeds by providing these cars with reliable long-range perception capabilities.
Technology such as LiDAR can help Volvo Cars to make its vision for autonomous travel, as showcased in the Volvo 360c concept earlier this year, a reality. The development of advanced LiDAR technology and perception capabilities is one of many ways in which Volvo Cars and its partners work towards a safe introduction of fully autonomous cars.
The new perception capabilities being developed by Luminar in partnership with Volvo Cars make it possible for the system to detect human poses including individual limbs such as arms and legs, a level of detail not previously possible with this type of sensor.
The new technology is also able to detect objects at a range of up to 250 meters, a much further range than any LiDAR technology currently available.
“Autonomous technology will take driving safely to a new level, beyond human limitations,” said Henrik Green, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo Cars. “This promise to improve safety is why Volvo Cars wants to be a leader in autonomous drive. Ultimately, the technology will also create new benefits for our customers and society as a whole. Luminar shares our ambition in making those benefits a reality and this new perception technology is an important next step in that process.”
Above: Volvo Cars and Luminar show groundbreaking autonomous technology development at Automobility LA 2018.
Luminar’s founder and chief executive officer, Austin Russell, said the Volvo Cars research and development team is moving at an impressive pace to solve some of the most advanced problems in the development of autonomous driving.
“As we’ve scaled up, [Volvo has] remained on the forefront of developing an autonomous system to take the driver out of the loop - ultimately enabling deployment in real consumer vehicles,” said Russell.
Volvo’s distinctive display at Automobility LA reflects how the car industry is changing, and how the way consumers experience a car brand is today is more important than chrome, leather or horsepower.
“By calling the trade show Automobility LA [where it was previously known as the LA motor show], the organisers have recognised the disruption affecting our industry,” said Mårten Levenstam, responsible for product strategy at Volvo Cars.
“We want to demonstrate that we got the memo and start a conversation about the future of automobility. So instead of bringing a concept car, we talk about the concept of a car. We will not win the ‘car of the show’ award this year, but we are comfortable with that. Because this is not a car show.”
In addition to this powerful statement, Volvo Cars’ stand in LA featured interactive demonstrations of connectivity services, such as in-car delivery, car sharing, the car subscription service Care by Volvo, and Volvo’s vision for autonomous driving as displayed in the Volvo 360c concept unveiled in 2018.