Category Archives: LIDAR

Self-Driving Cars Makes You Go Blind!

[Published 12-January-2019]

LIDAR stands for “LIght Detection And Ranging”.  LIDAR uses a LASER beam that is emitted from the unit, bounces off objects and the sensors on the unit receives the information.

Objects can be anything – another car, a building, a fence and of course humans – scanned top to bottom.  If you are gazing in the direction of the LIDAR, your eyes get zapped.  Not to panic, one or two cars won’t have much of an effect.  But fast forward to the future where all new cars have this “feature”.  You are on a busy street downtown and there is a traffic is crawling.  All those LIDAR units scanning everything.

Your eyes will be hit multiple times by multiple units.  What kind of damage? All those scanners at the grocery stores are LASER scanners and everyone knows not to stare into them. But you are only standing in front of ONE UNIT. On the street with a hundred cars, you will be bathed with LIDAR from all directions, including reflections off of buildings, other cars and everything you can see!

One car no problem. One hundred, yes, it’s an eye problem. And this is assuming all cars with LIDAR equipment follow strict standards (of which there are none right now, everyone is experimenting with their own equipment). Tests are done in isolation, real world of all cars all the time is quite different – and way more damaging since damage is cumulative!

Here is an excerpt from the Ars Technica article (referenced below): “Some lidar companies use lasers with a wavelength of 905nm (or 850nm in Ouster’s case). These wavelengths are attractive to companies because sensors can be made using conventional silicon-based fabrication techniques. The downside, however, is that it’s relatively easy for lasers at these wavelengths to damage the human retina. So safety requires strict limits on laser power.”

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Reference: Ars Technica
Publication devoted to technology that caters to technologists and IT professionals
Man says CES lidar’s laser was so powerful
it wrecked his $1,998 camera


Photograph is Copyright Jit Ray Chowdhury, used by Docent of Disease for editorial purposes

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Reference: MIT Technology Review
Magazine wholly owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Self-Driving Cars’ Spinning-Laser Problem


Image is Copyright MIT Technology Review, used by Docent of Disease for editorial purposes
Leading image used in this article is Copyright MIT Technology Review, used by Docent of Disease for editorial purposes

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CONCLUSION
There are other issues with self-driving cars that will make it perilous to human life, and there will be incidents of accidents including fatalities (such as the Uber experimental self driving car killing a jay walker at night, like oops, software didn’t take account of jaywalkers? at night?) but the LIDAR issue will affect everyone who is outside near cars or in cars.

“I’m sorry you went blind, here is a million dollars” isn’t going to bring back your eye sight. for. the. rest. of. your. life.

What can you do? Wait for some savvy entrepreneurs that make wrap around glasses that are impervious to not only sunlight but now LIDAR. And may as well make it for pilots so LASERS shot into the cockpit won’t blind them. This is serious. Technology moves on and humans are really trailing advances horrifically. So let’s catch up! Let’s leave on a fun note, everyone needs protective coated glasses, just like MIB:


Image is Copyright Columbia Pictures, modified and used by Docent of Disease for editorial purposes

Because if protective glasses fail, the only choice for you would be to to wait until Geordi LaForge’s viewer is invented, but that would be a long long wait…


Image is Copyright Viacom and/or CBS and/or Paramount, used by Docent of Disease for editorial purposes