Chinese autonomous driving startup WeRide releases next-gen small, lightweight Sensor Suite 4.0

Chinese autonomous driving startup WeRide releases next-gen small, lightweight Sensor Suite 4.0

Published: 28-10-2021 09:15:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 459 | Tags:

WeRide, a Chinese L4 autonomous driving company released WeRide Sensor Suite 4.0 (Suite 4.0), marking another key step towards the mass production of self-driving vehicles. Leveraging innovative compatibility design and highly integrated technical solutions, the next-generation sensor suite is the industry's first small-sized, lightweight model providing accurate and reliable perception capabilities for various Level 4 self-driving passenger vehicles.

Through highly integrated sensors, WeRide Sensor Suite 4.0 achieves a significant reduction in size compared to its predecessor, WeRide Sensor Suite 3.0. The product is one sixth the size of the last generation and occupies less than 0.4 square meters of roof area, allowing passengers to enjoy  the vehicle's sunroof. Suite 4.0 has a net weight of 13 kilograms, which is just 20 percent of the weight of the previous model and is the lightest sensor suite among the industry.

Suite 4.0 is designed with streamlined surface to blend in with a vehicle's aerodynamical shape, creating a self-driving vehicle that looks more consistent and elegant. Suite 4.0 has packed in more advanced sensing technologies that includes LiDARs, 4D mm-wave imaging radar, solid-state LiDAR, blind spot LiDARs and WeRide in-house designed camera module. Suite 4.0 enables a 360-degree Field of View ("FoV") with a front detection range up to 300 meters, blind-spot-free detection, accurate motion tracking and object identification.

Suite 4.0 maintains WeRide's unique modular design philosophy, allowing the variation of the sensor suite to be rapidly configured and adapted to a wide range of vehicle models.

It needs only 12 procedures to assemble a WeRide Sensor Suite 4.0. It is currently the most standardized solution in the industry, with production line installation completed within just 20 minutes per unit. Suite 4.0 itself can be assembled prior to the transportation to a vehicle production line for final installation thanks to the modular design. This not only ensures product quality consistency like the accuracy of the relative positions of the sensors, but also significantly improves self-driving vehicles' production efficiency.

Suite 4.0 is designed as a configurable combination of standardized sub-modules including configurable sensors, harness, and redundancy levels, for different autonomous driving solutions. With a high level of standardization, mass production technology such as injection molding process can be used for common parts to further reduce costs and improve production efficiency.

WeRide Sensor Suite 4.0 is equipped with a new proprietary sensor cleaning system, which can automatically detect dirt and stains on the sensor surfaces to trigger the cleaning system.

The system adopts a mixture of high-pressure gas and liquid cleaning methods, and a single cleaning shot which takes just 1 second to clean the sensors. The method effectively removes water droplets, mud, dust, frost, oil and other obstructions from the sensors. This ensures operational perception stability under different scenarios, including rain, snow, frost, sandstorm, smog and dust. At the same time, the whole cleaning system is invisible from outside with the compact exterior design.

WeRide is the world's first startup to hold driverless test permits in both China and the United States. The company has launched its driverless testing in Guangzhou, China since July 2020, and received a permit, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in April 2021, to test driverless vehicles on public roads in California.

WeRide will further accelerate fully self-driving testing with the application of WeRide Sensor Suite 4.0, and promote a new way of smart transportation with safer, more efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly solutions in shared mobility, on-demand public transportation, and urban logistics.