Demand for lidar, one of the key technologies driving autonomous car development, is outstripping supply, leaving customers waiting for backlogs to clear.
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is one of the three technologies used as the eyes for self-driving cars. Lidar, radar and cameras are often used together to map a full picture for a self-driving vehicle.
The demand for lidar has some customers waiting more than six months to get their orders filled, compared with a few weeks for delivery just a year ago. The Silicon Valley publication The Information reported in March that researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario had to put their self-driving car program on hold after its 5-year-old lidar broke, and the team was told by lidar manufacturer Velodyne that it would take six months to get a new one.
Velodyne, based in Morgan Hill, Calif., is the automotive industry's main supplier of lidar. It has a long list of customers, including top automakers and tech companies.