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Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Car Accident > Lidar Made Austin Russell a Billionaire, but Can It Prevent Car Accidents?

Lidar Made Austin Russell a Billionaire, but Can It Prevent Car Accidents?


Perhaps you have heard the news that Austin Russell has just become a billionaire at age 25 after selling his laser technology startup.  Russell has spent his whole life studying lasers; instead of attending high school or college, he went straight from middle school to graduate study of laser technology, and he has gotten most of his general knowledge from Wikipedia and YouTube.  Luminar, the company he founded and which he became a billionaire by selling, makes sensors that will allow cars to “see” objects in their path using laser beams.  This type of technology is called lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging.  Whereas some wealthy people attempt to change the world for the better through philanthropy, Russell has said that he hopes to change the world through his inventions, namely, by preventing car accidents.  It remains to be seen how many car accidents Luminar products will prevent in the future, but if you have already been injured in a car accident driver assistance technology or self-driving technology was unable to prevent, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer.

Lidar Might Already Be Making Your Drive Safer

While Russell, through his Luminar products, aims to make autonomous vehicle technology reliable enough that we can start to see self-driving cars on the road in our lifetime, he did not single-handedly invent lidar.  The technology has been around for decades, and some of the safety features in your car might already use it.  The earliest lidar sensors in cars were in the adaptive cruise control systems of Mitsubishi vehicles produced in 1992.  Today, a variety of car features that require obstacle detection incorporate lidar technology.  In fact, the following features of your car might already include lidar:

  • Anti Lock brake system
  • Cruise control
  • Emergency brake assist
  • Parking assist
  • Lane assist

Can Lidar Make Your Ride Less Safe?

Like any automotive technology, lidar features of your car can cause accidents if they malfunction.  You have probably heard about safety recalls related to faulty airbags and brakes in several models of cars.  One drawback to the many of the lidar sensors currently found in cars is that they are less effective in rainy weather.  When the laser beam comes into contact with a raindrop, it interprets it as an obstacle.  Of course, the biggest danger of any smart technology in a car is when people rely on it too much, expecting it to take the place of huma decision-making, instead of just helping with it.  In other words, lidar technology sometimes contributes to accidents because of a mistake by an overconfident driver, not because of a technology malfunction.

Let Us Help You Today

Even the safest car can cause an accident if the driver is not paying enough attention to the road.  If you have been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving or any other factor or combination of factors, you need a Columbia car accident lawyer.  Contact The Stanley Law Group for help today.




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