ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s been called one of the most influential auto shows in the world. In just a few weeks, one Albuquerque company will showcase its product at the Los Angeles Auto Show. You may be surprised by what they manufacture. Many say it’s helping to shape the future of the auto industry.
The technology was originally designed for communications in outer space. Now, the LA Auto Show is recognizing a locally grown business as one of the world’s top 10 startups in automotive.
It’s the wave of the future.
“It’s an inevitability that our cars will be autonomous at some point,” said TriLumina Chief Strategy Officer, David Abell. “It’s safer, it’s more efficient.”
The future may be closer than you think and it’s all thanks to the kind of technology produced right here in New Mexico.
“She’s putting together a device here that is an illuminator for inside the car for driver monitoring,” explained Abell as he introduced KRQE News 13 to one of TriLumina’s employees.
Abell said their technology will help set a new standard for safety.
“Our cars are going to be able to see how attentive the driver is. They’ll be able to monitor how much attention you’re paying and, eventually, take over more or less control of the car,” Abell explained.
Already, Abell said the government is requiring certain safety provisions like radar and vision systems.
“The problem right now, though, is that we hit our capability limits on radar and cameras and we need an additional sensor to help kind of fill some gaps,” he said.
Abell said the solution is LiDar. Here’s how it works:
“If you can pulse light, you can use that light to determine how far objects are away. It’s called time of flight. So, we reflect light off of an object and we can measure how long it took to come back to the sensor,” explained Abell.
LiDar allows cars to see when drivers can’t– in darkness, rain or snow. It’s because of TriLumina’s advancements in this important technology that the LA Auto Show named them one of the top ten startups in the world.
“We’re really excited about that. It’s kind of unique for an Albuquerque company,” said Abell.
What’s more, Abell said they couldn’t have done it without resources right here in the Duke City, from facilities at UNM to expertise out of Intel and Sandia National Labs.
“I don’t think we’d be able to do what we’re doing in any other place other than Albuquerque,” Abell said.
Some automakers have already developed self-driving cars, like the Google car. However, Abell said cars like that just aren’t practical. The full sensor system on it is about $200,000. Abell said TriLumina helps to reduce the cost to less than $100 for LiDar systems.
The LA Auto Show is set for November 20 through November 29.