A method 300, performed by a vehicle controller, comprises: identifying clusters of points in a point cloud obtained 302 from a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor having reflectivity above a reflectivity threshold 306; performing symbol and/or character recognition 314 for regions of an output of a camera corresponding 312 to one or more of the clusters of points; and refraining from performing symbol/character recognition for regions of the output of the camera not corresponding to the clusters of points. Clusters may further be selected according to a flatness threshold 310, and may be further refined by removing clusters corresponding to a road surface or ground plane 304. Autonomous vehicle navigation, including braking, accelerating, and steering, may be controlled by further performing obstacle detection using the point cloud. A vehicle is provided to perform the method, wherein a camera and LIDAR sensor are mounted to the vehicle. The invention reduces the field of view on which character recognition must be performed in order to reduce the computing burden.