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This start-up is based on the bat principle

The M ü nchner inventors want to help the autonomous car to break through. Only a single laser is supposed to deliver millions of data to the on-board computer.

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This start-up is based on the bat principle

Should Mathias Müller explain device with which he and his three co-founders from Munich start-up "field of vision" want to help autonomous cars to break through, he comes to bat bats. These are orientated when flying in search of insects on ultrasonic waves.

The device developed by his company, which is intended to move undriving cars in road, works on same principle. Only that environment is not covered by sound waves, but by a laser beam, that is, with bundled light waves running in a straight line, which are about a million times faster than sound.

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Measuring instruments that measure distance between two points with a laser beam are already available for purchase in DIY stores for a few euros. The start-up company is faced with task of perfecting this technique in such a way that laser does not take one, but one million such measurements in a second, and provides data that car occupants can trust blindly. Moreover, your small black magic box called LiDAR in mass production is not supposed to cost much more than a distance meter from hardware store, too.

Measuring instruments with several lasers for autonomous driving cars are already available according to Müller. Only ir production costs a higher seven-digit Eurosumme. So at least as much as a car of upscale price range, at whose control a person sits-which makes use of this technology so far invaluable.

The young inventors around Müller are convinced to have solved ir problem, in seconds millions of measurements, which also indicate velocities of moving objects, with a moveable mirror. It scans environment with a single laser.

Several patents have already been filed with company's vision. If a on-board computer processes data supplied with help of a mobile silicon mirror, as in human eye, it is made up of millions of individual point images of environment. "If you understand it, you realize that it is profane," Müller says modestly.

The four start-up founders do not yet have a finished product. The founder team includes Müller, also Gröbenzell-born robotics Florian Petit, patent attorney Sebastian Neusser and computer scientist Rolf Wojtech. Müller introduces prototype to a test set-up at chair for measuring system and sensor technology at TU München. Here, at Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Müller is currently habilitation.

And here, 37-year-old lectures on his specialty. These are fiber optic sensors and ir applications. With prototype, proof that method worked is successful, says Müller satisfied. If only he were scientists specializing in optical measuring techniques, whose tools are laws of optics and physics, he would have done his job.

Researchers Mathias Müller is working on breakthrough for a more cost-effective measuring technique.

(Photo by: Robert Haas)

If re were not a second, at least equally delightful, challenge: transition from research to application. Müller has been fascinated by economic issues since his school days. In second step, physicist is concerned with finding an efficient method of implementing research results into practice.

For this reason, Gröbenzeller for second time with partners founded a start-up financed by a venture capital. The first high-tech company named "Fos4X"- name stands for "Fiber optic sensors for X-arbitrary things"-produces special laser control devices for wind turbines.

In addition to technicians and researchers from viewpoint, several or development teams are working on solutions for how autonomous cars with lasers can be controlled accident-free. Competitors also sit in Sillicon valley in USA. Winning in end will be who develops right solution fastest. Accordingly, pressure is great. Müller hopes to be able to test prototype of LIDAR in vehicles of a car company next year.

There is no holiday until n. In addition, it would be uncertain wher tinkerers could really turn m off during ir holidays. The igniting idea for autonomous driving had two pleasures of Florian Petit and Mathias Müller in a joint four-week crossing of Atlantic Ocean in sailboat.

If it is not about autonomous driving, owner of a VW Polo is hardly interested in cars. His car is 20 years old and has 70 000 Kilomeer on speedometer. For 17 kilometre long distance from his apartment in Gröbenzell to his institute at Tu in Maxvorstadt, Mathias Müller prefers to go on a bicycle.

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