Friday, January 05, 2018

LiDAR News: Dibotics, Toyota, Luminar, Quanergy

PRWeb: DIBOTICS and automotive glass manufacturer AGC AUTOMOTIVE were able to integrate LiDAR sensors behind the windshield. The reasons why integration of LiDAR inside the vehicle is said to be a major step for industry:

  • The LiDAR sensor is fully protected inside the vehicle cabin and does not require extensive sealing
  • The aperture of the LiDAR is kept clear in all conditions with windshield features (wipers, defrosting, …)
  • LiDAR is fully effective in a high mounting position, for the best long-range vision
  • The LiDAR data can be combined with other sensors around the car to offer the best redundancy of data
  • Each sensor is totally hidden inside the vehicle, behind IR glass windshield and/or behind IR glass trims
As automotive glass manufacturer AGC Automotive has created a dedicated entity, totally devoted to autonomous vehicles and LiDAR integration: WIDEYE:

Ars Technica believes that cheaper and better LiDARs are right around the corner:

"Nobody knows how long it will take to build cost-effective automotive-grade lidar. But all of the experts we talked to were optimistic. They pointed to the many previous generations of technology—from handheld calculators to antilock brakes—that became radically cheaper as they were manufactured at scale. Lidar appears to be on a similar trajectory, suggesting that in the long run, lidar costs won't be a barrier to mainstream adoption of self-driving cars."

Just 3 months after Platform 2.1 presentation, Toyota Research Institute (TRI) unveils its next-generation automated driving research vehicle, Platform 3.0, heavily relying on Luminar LiDARs:

"The Luminar LIDAR system with 200-meter range, which had only tracked the forward direction on TRI’s previous test platform, now covers the vehicle’s complete 360-degree perimeter. This is enabled by four high-resolution LIDAR scanning heads, which precisely detect objects in the environment including notoriously difficult-to-see dark objects.

Shorter-range LIDAR sensors
[appear to be Velodyne] are positioned low on all four sides of the vehicle – one in each front quarter panel and one each on the front and rear bumpers. These can detect low-level and smaller objects near the car like children and debris in the roadway. The new platform remains flexible for incorporating future breakthrough technology as it becomes available."

BusinessWire: Quanergy announces opening of a new production factory in Sunnyvale, CA. The produces Quanergy’s S3 solid state LiDAR sensor. With the commissioning of this facility, Quanergy says it is the only company to mass produce solid state 3D LiDAR sensors to date.

This manufacturing facility represents our most significant milestone to date in realizing Quanergy’s goal to bring capable, reliable, and affordable electronically-steered solid state LiDAR sensors to mass market,” said Louay Eldada, founder and CEO of Quanergy.

"The sales price of the S3 currently varies between several hundred and a few hundred dollars (so says PR text), depending on the quantity ordered. With higher levels of integration in future sensor generations on the product roadmap, Quanergy estimates the price will drop below $100 per sensor."

The initial goal is to reach a 200,000-unit yearly production pace by the second half of 2018 and then push that to 1 million sensors a year from 2019, according to Quanergy, adds Forbes.

Quanergy automated LiDAR factory
Quanergy S3 LiDAR

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