With the notable exception of Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc , most automakers have said their self-driving cars will rely on a detection system known as lidar. The state of the art sensors use laser light pulses to render precise images of the environment around the car.
Pressure to launch self-driving cars is already pushing many players to place bets on the technology. General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG are expected to deploy sensors from well-funded lidar startups Velodyne and Innoviz on their initial self-driving cars over the next two years.
More than $1 billion in corporate and private investment has been plowed into some 50 lidar startups over the past three years, including a record $420 million in 2018, according to a Reuters analysis of publicly available investment data.