Decreasing cost of IR lasers to boost 3D sensing: Page 4 of 5

July 15, 2019 //By Julien Happich
IR lasers
Consulting firm IDTechEx presents some insights from its recently published report “Laser Diodes & Direct Diode Lasers 2019-2029: Technologies, Markets & Forecasts”, where technology analyst Dr Nilushi Wijeyasinghe highlights the progress made in optical 3D sensing and its mass adoption enabled by the decreasing cost of IR lasers.

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.

Hesai, a lidar manufacturer based in China, have
scaled up the production of their mechanical lidar
modules. Lidar is a laser-based 3D sensor technology
and it enables self-driving cars to see the world.
Image source: Hesai

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.

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