LiDAR scanners for example, which are used in today’s premium cars, are likely to become standard. Acting as the car’s “eyes”, they scan the environment and recognize potential dangers. Today they support the driver to react faster, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, or trigger emergency braking in critical situations. In future, they will enable cars to drive autonomously, communicating with their environment and other road users via projectors integrated into the headlights.
The potential for these technologies is vast and crosses many sectors. Taking LiDAR again, it can also enable drones to fly autonomously. In combination with hyper-spectral imaging sensors, this can be used in agriculture to scan fields. With the data acquired, farmers can make smarter decisions about the amount of water and fertilizer needed, improving crop yields while lessening the impact on the environment. Sensors are also already in use in life sciences. They are found in smart watches, for example, where they are used to monitor human vital functions. With this information, the wearer can react quickly before a problem becomes more serious. In future, smartphones equipped with hyperspectral imaging can help users avoid foods that are not good for them. By taking a picture in which every pixel can be analyzed, the user can, for example, detect high sugar levels, or even bacterial contamination.