The first step for an autonomous car to be so, is to be equipped with a multitude of sensors: cameras, radars, lasers or the famous liDARs (light detection and ranging). All these sensors represent the “eyes” of the car and constantly collect all external information useful for driving such as road traffic, road signs or pedestrians.
These sensors work by sending pulses of infrared light and measuring the time it takes them to bounce off from objects. This creates a map of 3D points that serve as a snapshot of the car’s environment. Lidars require in particular the realization of micrometric mirrors made from microelectronic processes, i.e. MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems), an expertise specific to C2MI (Cf. Photography). Indeed, derived from microelectronics techniques, MEMS use micro-technologies for their manufacture, which allow large-scale production.
Like the magic mirror of Snow-White belonging to the universe of the wonderful, the micromirror of the LiDARS will be able to reveal through the image, not invisible truths or the deepest wishes, but a 3D matrix of its environment. This detailed mapping will then be able to provide information on the position, shape or behavior of the objects surrounding the autonomous car.
Mirror, my beautiful Mirror, tell me what about my environment?