AEye, the autonomous technology company, announced that its LiDAR sensor has achieved a 1000-meter range in rain behind windshield glass. The test was performed at the American Center for Mobility (ACM) test track in Ypsilanti, Michigan and its results were verified by VSI Labs, an active researcher of safety and automated vehicle technologies. AEye’s sensor was integrated into the AV stack of VSI’s research vehicle, which carried out the test.

The new test demonstrates the sensor’s capabilities in adverse weather conditions, and behind a first surface (in this case, a windshield). It was conducted to study the impact of adaptive LiDAR on the performance and safety of automated functionality. AEye’s team used a rain machine to simulate wet weather and mounted the sensor behind a piece of windshield glass to gauge long-range sensor performance in heavy rain. In a second test, its LiDAR sensor was able to detect small objects in a tunnel (through rain and a second surface) at 120 meters. It also detected five bricks and a black dog not visible to the human eye at the same distance, alongside a pedestrian and a child at 110 meters.

In March, the firm announced that VSI Labs had verified its LiDAR’s range, resolution, and speed capabilities, and its ability to place the sensor behind first surfaces (such as the windshield or grill) with a minimal impact to performance. The latter is critical to automotive OEMs, as it provides flexibility in implementing sensors within their vehicle designs without compromising on aesthetics or changing aerodynamics.

AEye’s bistatic architecture streamlines vehicle integration by separating the transmit and receive paths. This provides an optical isolation that ensures any light reflected does not blind the sensor, ensuring optimal performance – even in adverse weather conditions. This performance is further enhanced by AEye’s use of 1550 nanometer lasers that provides detection in areas with lower visibility – such as rain, snow, and smoke.

AEye’s intelligent LiDAR utilizes adaptive sensing to deliver this enhanced performance. The technology addresses the most difficult challenges facing autonomous driving while meeting functional safety requirements. AEye’s adaptive LiDAR is also capable of scanning the scene around it while focusing on important objects to enable safer, quicker, decision-making in complex scenarios.

In addition to performance testing from VSI Labs, the sensors were also validated by NTS, who put them through extreme automotive shock and vibration tests.