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BASF Develops Functional Pigments to Improve LiDAR Detection

The German chemistry giant BASF has revealed its development of dark automotive paint colors that are reflective to LiDAR for enhancing the detecting function of autonomous cars.

LiDAR plays a critical role to the development of autonomous vehicles and self-driving technology. LiDAR use near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths to detect and receive data while integrating with other detection technology for collecting information for self-driving car. However, current LiDAR has difficulty detecting dark-colored cars because the radiated wavelengths are easily absorbed by dark colors vehicles which are popular options in the automobile market.


According to BASF, carbon black-based pigmentations are typically used in dark automotive paint colors such as black, grey and blue and they absorb NIR radiation, resulting in lower LiDAR reflectance. In order to solve the problem, BASF leveraged LiDAR-detectable coatings made with functional pigments and technologies to help reduce NIR absorption and thereby improve LiDAR mapping performance.

BASF also integrates LiDAR-reflective layer within the coating system that optimize NIR reflection. With its LiDAR-detectable coatings, the NIR radiation is able to travel through the dark colored basecoat layer without significant absorption. A subsequent LiDAR-reflective coating layer serves as a “mirror” to reflect the NIR radiation back to its point of origin for calculation of distance and mapping of the environment.


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