In the late 1960s, the Boeing 747 made intercontinental travel an everyday reality. The distinctive hump atop the aircraft became a symbol of 20th-century transportation transformation.
Might another distinctive hump atop a vehicle — that of a cylindrical lidar sensor — come to define transportation advances in the 21st century?
After more than a decade in development for automotive purposes, lidar sensors have become a linchpin technology for autonomy, using lasers to help vehicles determine where they are in the world and detect obstacles in their path.
But the path ahead for dozens of lidar companies remains blurry. As lidar has transformed itself into a multibillion-dollar business over the past year, a handful of companies have separated themselves from the pack. The rest likely face a reckoning.