ORLANDO, Fla. — One Central Florida company believes it can make driving an accident-free experience and has developed the technology it says will save millions of lives.
What You Need To Know
- Over 50,000 distracted driving crashes happened in Florida last year
- A central Florida company says it can stop nearly all accidents with its new technology
- Luminar Technologies uses LIDAR sensors rather than cameras and radar in autonomous vehicles
- The company says it can save one million lives over the next 100 years
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety, there were over 50,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida last year, resulting in 268 fatalities.
Jason Eichenholz, co-founder of Luminar Technologies says his company is making transportation safer, for everyone around the world.
“We think over the next 100 years, we can save over 100 million lives worldwide,” said Eichenholz.
While its goals may sound lofty, Luminar’s technology efforts appear to be working in the autonomous car business.
“It’s really easy to make an autonomous vehicle work 99% of the time. It’s that last 1% that is really, really hard,” said Eichenholz.
Eichenholz and Luminar co-founder Austin Russell realized back in 2012 that car safety had been slow to change in the last 100 years.
While there have been car safety improvements such as air bags, seat belts and anti-lock brakes, little has been done to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.
“Every working day in our country alone, the equivalent of a 737 drops out of the sky. And yet we are complacent with those fatalities,” he said.
Luminar’s sensor technology, or LIDAR as it’s known, is built into the automobile's rooftop.
Luminar does not use cameras or radar like other manufacturers, such as Tesla.
“By providing that 3D map with what is happening around the vehicle, as it’s moving down the highway or down the road, we can proactively provide this cushion or bubble around the vehicle, to create the uncrashable car,” said Eichenholz.
The company says LIDAR is much more reliable in nighttime driving than cameras.
They say they have to test and program nearly every possible driving scenario.
“We need to identify that child walking, from behind a parked car, that was blind to a human driver, and reacts faster to a human could,” said Eichenholz.
In the past 25 years, Eichenholz has led the development of millions of dollars of photonic products — holding over 30 patents that are reshaping the world.
“Humans are inherently bad drivers. They are distracted and getting more and more distracted. With the proactive safety that comes from the Luminar lidar equipment, we can make an uncrashable car," he said.
Eichenholz points out that a completely safe car is not a pipe dream.
Cars fitted with their patented LIDAR technology, is already available in new Volvo vehicles.
And as autonomous cars replace standard cars, he believes accidents will eventually become a thing of the past.