Sensors for driver-assistance and autonomous vehicles
Another rapidly evolving laser technology is lidar, originally an acronym of Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR). While lidar is an established technology for high-value sensing applications in aerospace and defence, many companies now focus on developing cost-effective and compact lidar modules optimised for the automotive industry.
IDTechEx analysts are tracking more than 100 lidar companies worldwide that develop products for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles. Each company claims to offer a unique, next-generation product that is superior to competing technologies. The more mature lidar technologies use a mechanical system to scan a pulsed laser and determine 3D depth information via the light reflected from objects.
Companies like Velodyne (USA) and Hesai (China) have successfully scaled up the production of their mechanical lidars. However, the trend towards micro-mechanical and pure solid-state lidar threatens the growth of the mechanical lidar market segment. Micro-mechanical and pure solid-state systems are attractive to the automotive industry because such lidars offer lower unit price and longer product lifetime compared to mechanical products.