Lidar is being utilized in a growing number of driver-assist and autonomous applications across the automotive landscape. Here's a snapshot of the key suppliers.
A look at the lidar field
Velodyne: Company founder Dave Hall pioneered lidar for automotive purposes. Velodyne reports it has more than 300 customers overall. In December, the company introduced its Velarray H800 sensor, based on its micro-lidar array technology, designed for last-mile delivery and warehouse applications.
Ouster: The company, valued at $1.9 billion, says it has more than 800 customers within and beyond automotive. CEO Angus Pacala says the company has pioneered digital lidar, vastly reducing the number of needed parts. Ouster revenue grew 350% in 2020, Pacala said.
Luminar: The company is partners with 7 global automakers, including Toyota and Volvo. It also has announced partnerships with Daimler Trucks and global supplier Mobileye. It enters series production on certain Volvo vehicles in 2022.
Hesai: In September, the Shanghai company unveiled its latest Pandar128 mechanical sensor, which offers 200 meters of range at 10% reflectivity. It has raised $231.2 million and works with companies such as Bosch, Nuro and TuSimple.
Innoviz: The company, set to go public in March, has worked with BMW and global supplier Magna on a production vehicle project for the past 3½ years. Innoviz is backed by the likes of SoftBank Ventures Asia and Aptiv. Beyond automotive, it plans lidar for space, agriculture and operations in geographic-specific areas such as colleges or office campuses.
Ibeo: The company has been developing lidar for more than 2 decades. Ibeo, founded in Germany, partnered with Valeo to manufacture lidar for the Audi A8, the first production vehicle ever to contain lidar sensors.
Aeva: The venture, co-founded by former Apple workers, has homed in on 4D lidar, which allows the sensors to capture velocity information of objects. In September, the company inked a deal with ZF to develop production lidar for driver-assist systems and autonomous vehicles.
Opsys Tech: The Israeli startup aims to combine the best of traditional scanning lidar — range and resolution — with the reliability and lower cost associated with flash lidar. It claims to scan the full field of view at 1,000 frames per second. Opsys, founded in 2016, received an investment from Hyundai in January.
Cepton: In January, the company introduced a miniature lidar sensor called the Nova that detects objects at close range. It's intended for use in driver-assist applications and costs roughly $100 per sensor. Each sensor measures approximately 7.5 centimeters by 3.5 centimeters.
Not all automotive and AV companies have turned outside for lidar needs. Some of the most prominent companies have brought efforts to develop and deploy lidar in-house. Here's a review of those efforts.
Waymo: The company boasts that its internally developed Laser Bear Honeycomb lidar has been vetted in more than 2 million miles of real-world testing. Waymo sells the Laser Bear to others, though it has been tight-lipped on which companies have been using it.
Argo AI: In 2017, Argo AI purchased Princeton Lightwave, a lidar company in New Jersey. A spokesperson for Argo, which is backed by Ford and Volkswagen, said lidar development was proceeding on schedule and there would be more developments in the near future.
Cruise: Also in 2017, General Motors-backed Cruise acquired Strobe to help drive down lidar costs. Cruise co-founder Kyle Vogt is still watching the lidar space, tweeting in January that it was primed for consolidation.
Aurora: In May 2019, Aurora acquired Blackmore, the Montana startup that pioneered frequency-modulated lidar for automotive applications. Now, Aurora says the acquisition has underpinned its emphasis on autonomous trucking, unlocking the ability to detect objects at longer distances.
Mobileye: The company is best known for supplying camera-based computer vision systems. But in January, it said it was developing its own frequency-modulated lidar for use in AVs starting in 2025.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.