Starting with LiDAR, A Team Builds Augmented Reality for the Driver

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and University College London (UCL) have developed the first LiDAR-based augmented reality head-up display for use in vehicles. Tests on a prototype version of the technology suggest that it could improve road safety by ‘seeing through’ objects to alert of potential hazards without distracting the driver.

In the video above, see how co-author Phil Wilkes, a geographer who normally uses LiDAR to learn about tropical forests, scanned the busy Malet Street in central London. With a technique called terrestrial laser scanning, millions of pulses were sent out from multiple positions in the area. The LiDAR data was then combined with point cloud data, building up a 3D model. The LiDaR can then be used to make holograms for the driver.

“This way, we can stitch the scans together, building a whole scene, which doesn’t only capture trees, but cars, trucks, people, signs, and everything else you would see on a typical city street,” said Wilkes. “Although the data we captured was from a stationary platform, it’s similar to the sensors that will be in the next generation of autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles.”