Another prominent self-driving vehicle program is building its own sensors rather than buy them from outside suppliers.
Yandex said Monday it has developed two separate lidar sensors, which enable cars to perceive objects at up to 200 meters. Beyond lidar, the Russian company, which will offer rides at the revamped Detroit auto show in June, is making its own cameras for a growing fleet of self-driving vehicles.
Dmitry Polishchuk, head of self-driving cars at Yandex, says making the sensors in-house will result in savings that eventually will reach 75 percent of the cost of the lidar units once they enter mass production.
Yandex is a Russian search-engine business that started developing its own autonomous-driving technology in 2016. It also runs a taxi-booking service in more than 100 Russian cities.
Comparisons to Google and its Waymo self-driving car subsidiary abound. Those may continue, because Waymo started building its own lidar in-house years ago, and now the company sells its Laser Bear Honeycomb units.
Yandex says it has developed a solid-state lidar with a 120-degree field of view that produces highly detailed portraits of objects directly in front of its vehicles, and separately, 360-degree lidar that can detect objects farther afield. Versatile software allows for programming that can adapt scanning patterns for various driving environments and weather conditions.
"We receive more information about the vehicle's surroundings since we can access the sensors' raw data," Polishchuk said. "With our lidars, we can analyze the raw data and synchronize it with information from other sensors, so that the car can better identify objects."
Yandex's self-made lidar are already deployed in its test fleet in and around Moscow.
The scope of the company's self-driving intentions has grown over the past year. Testing expanded beyond key locations in Moscow and Innopolis, Russia, to Tel Aviv, where the company hopes its presence might attract high-tech talent. In March, Yandex entered a partnership with Hyundai Mobis to jointly develop automated vehicles.