1550 nm lidars for self driving cars are a relatively recent thing with only a handful of companies (AEye, Luminar, Blackmore) making them. The benefit is that, thanks to the extra power, they have longer range. Unfortunately they fry cameras and are very expensive.
It's also worth pointing out that the 1550 nm pulsed lidars like AEye and Luminar with fiber lasers may have much shorter pulses than the 5 ns pulses of, say, a 905 nm Velodyne lidar. So, not only is the average power 1000 times higher, but the peak power may be even higher.
It's generally safe to assume that you're not going to think about this for ten seconds and discover a danger that has been missed by every single person to ever contribute to the exposure limits by thought or by case study.
But then what would HN be for?
Not safe to assume the risks don't exist just because they aren't mentioned in an Ars Technica article.
I would have thought it would be safe to assume a company wouldn't mount a laser on a car that would permanently ruin peoples cameras, but here we are.
I don't believe that the risks don't exist. I believe that what risks exist are extremely unlikely to be something that can be pointed out with a one-line comment on HN. I don't believe that because of this article. I believe that because lasers are unbelievably useful and widely-deployed in industry and tend to cause immediate, visible, and unmistakable damage, so organizations like OSHA have studied them extensively and failures are expensive enough that operators put actual effort into minimizing risk.
> I would have thought it would be safe to assume a
> company wouldn't mount a laser on a car that would
> permanently ruin peoples cameras, but here we are.
I would have thought that that it would be safe to assume that people wouldn't strap 200kW motors to two-ton lumps of metal and send them hurtling around under purely manual control with no physical limits or safety barriers separating them from foot traffic, but here we are.
If the price we pay for eliminating the leading cause of violent death worldwide is that we have to stop pointing cameras at everything, so be it.
> When injury from exposure to microwaves occurs, it usually results from dielectric heating induced in the body. Exposure to microwave radiation can produce cataracts by this mechanism, because the microwave heating denatures proteins in the crystalline lens of the eye (in the same way that heat turns egg whites white and opaque). The lens and cornea of the eye are especially vulnerable because they contain no blood vessels that can carry away heat.
plus are there any weather conditions the light become visible?