Pierre Olivier is one of the tech world’s leading innovators – his work has resulted in the development of sensor technology that is now widely used in intelligent transportation systems, factory automation, UAVs and autonomous shuttles. He is CTO of LeddarTech, an industry leader in LiDAR sensor solutions for the automotive and mobility sectors, which include autonomous shuttles, trucks, buses, delivery vehicles and robotaxis.
The company’s head office is in Canada’s Quebec City and it has R&D centres in Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto (Canada) as well as in Linz, Austria.
What was your journey to the sensor market?
I studied electrical engineering at university. I then held several roles in engineering and software development including machine vision and robotics. While in a previous position, I met the founder of LeddarTech who asked me to join the team. Hard to believe, but I joined LeddarTech as Director of engineering just over 10 years ago and am now CTO, leading our research and advanced engineering efforts.
What is your proposition to the market?
LeddarTech developed its own proprietary LiDAR technology named Leddar. Leddar uses the time of flight principle and unique signal processing algorithms to detect, locate, and measure objects in its field of view. LeddarTech which was founded in 2007, has a proven track record of innovation with over 70 patented technologies solidifying its rank in the automotive and mobility industries. Offering a common architecture and software platform, the company provides a scalable automotive and mobility LiDAR platform based on its LeddarEngine, a suite of functional safety certified SoCs (systems on chip) which work in tandem with its LeddarSP signal processing library and its LeddarSens perception stack. LeddarTech’s technology focuses on the quickly evolving industry demands for ADAS (Advanced driver-assistance systems) and AD (Autonomous Driving) in both the automotive and mobility industries.
Where do you see the market moving – what do you feel are growth areas?
There are high hopes to see the industry progress to Level 5 which is fully autonomous cars. While sensors are a key component to achieving full autonomy, testing and R&D is still ongoing. It is therefore difficult to predict when full autonomy will be achieved, though we have seen much progress in the last few years. As a result of this, I see many more companies moving into this space and I wish them every success; this is such a large market with so much growth potential that the technology and the consumers can only benefit from a competitive landscape.
What do you see as the greatest market challenges and how do you seek to overcome them?
Some vendors over promised when it came to the achievement of Level 5 autonomy and they turned out to be their own worst enemies. Development must continue and we need to see steady success rather than simply focusing on the race. AI is proving an effective tool in this area, but it is not a silver bullet!
What are you looking forward to most about The Sensor Show?
There is no substitute for attending conferences and exhibitions, as they represent prime opportunities to learn from your peers and make connections. Of course, attending a conference requires a lot of work, both prior and during, but there is a lot to be said for in-person interactions and the power of body language – these are the best contributors to building great working relationships. Over the years, LeddarTech has grown by forming alliances both with customers and members of our Leddar Ecosystem at such events and we plan more for the future.
Do you have a favourite piece of kit?
Outside of work, I’m not that obsessed with technology, probably because it’s such a big part of my working life. I understand how technology works but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating new innovations and inventions. That being said, I still have a fondness for my BlackBerry phone! Of course, technology is a great communication tool, but I do find some younger people rely on it a lot, if not too much. For me, technology is still largely a tool, a facilitator. I don’t use a Kindle, I prefer real books. I don’t like reading documents off a screen, especially if it’s something I need to focus on, I rather print it out. A true dichotomy!
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