Argo has been working with its partners Ford and on its self-driving car platform for some time Volkswagenand in that time it has made some decent strides. Now, however, it’s ready to move on to the next level, and to do this, it has created an updated hardware suite according to its announcement on Friday.
The notoriety of this hardware lies in the fact that it is much closer to “automotive quality” which, according to the Argos publication, means that it is “hardware that can withstand extreme thermal conditions and maintain structural integrity over time,” and that it is at large Quantities can be produced. How is that different from Argos previous technology?
Get into the driver’s seat
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First, the company combined its lidar system into a unit with a greater range of vision. Thanks to the built-in fan, the individual unit can better deal with high operating temperatures and can even keep itself clean with built-in water jets. Next, Argo improved its radar system by nearly doubling its range which, combined with the improved lidar, allows the vehicles to operate safely at higher speeds.
Argo also developed the camera system that its test vehicles will use. Both high-resolution near-field and far-field cameras with customized image sensors are used here, which can better cope with lighting situations with a high dynamic range. Argo also added three microphones to the sensor package, which vehicles can use to listen to sirens from emergency vehicles and react to them before they are in sight of the other sensors.
To cope with all of this sensor input, Argo uses two self-propelled computer systems, with the second acting as a redundant unit in the event the first fails. The first computer is called the Autonomous Vehicle System and takes over most of the vehicle’s driving tasks. The second computer is known as the complementary autonomous vehicle system and is not only a backup but also helps to bear some of the burden of the collision avoidance systems.
It’s hard to say how effective this new hardware will be compared to the technology of other self-driving developers like Waymo or Waymo cruiseOne area where Argo is lagging behind is the visual appeal of its technology. Waymo and Cruise both have lots of sensor bulges on their test vehicles, but nothing near the sensor housings on Argo’s Ford Escape development vehicles. Looks might sound like a silly thing to be critical of, but ultimately, it’s something to consider when talking about something to be sold to customers.
Argo AI’s third generation self-driving car doesn’t look all that different