Friday, May 22, 2020

LiDAR News: Outsight, Hitachi-LG, Velodyne, OS Lab

Sabbir Rangwala, a former Princeton Lightwave LiDAR business leader, writes in Forbes article:

"On the AV front, there is sobering news. The COVID crisis has put tremendous cash flow pressures on automotive OEMs, with subsequent scaling back of investments on AVs. Ford is in a particularly difficult situation with its dismal stock price, difficulty in obtaining financing and suspending their dividend payments. It is likely that they will need substantial help and delay their AV efforts.

GM-Cruise recently announced an 8% reduction in staffing in areas such as business strategy, design, and product development, following on the heels of Ike, Velodyne, and Kodiak. Zoox, the vaunted Silicon Valley unicorn with an ambitious vision of using purpose-built battery driven AVs for ride sharing is finding a difficult time raising more money and could likely get acquired.

And hold your breath – even Waymo had to raise almost $3B recently because they acknowledged that developing AVs is expensive (and presumably because the new Alphabet management is getting what we all routinely go through – the “other bets” syndrome). These events are likely to multiply and trickle down, with a natural impact on the survival of many AV focused LiDAR companies. They all simply cannot survive going forward.

It is likely that less than 10 independent companies will survive as stand-alone AV LiDAR entities over the next couple of years. The remainder will either pivot successfully into other applications or get acquired (by the captives or the stronger independent LiDAR companies). Or, unfortunately, face bankruptcy.

Like some other automotive LiDAR companies, Outsight is looking for the alternative markets for its 3D semantic camera. ZDNet reports that such a new application could be automatic mask wearing or fever monitoring and screening in public places:

Hitachi-LG Data Storage posts a handwashing quality monitoring application for its LiDAR, in addition to a similar video posted a couple of days ago.

Velodyne adopts its LiDAR for human-worn scanning, in partnership with NavVis:

Another recent Velodyne announcement presents a hand-held LiDAR use:

BusinessWire: Meanwhile, SOS LAB LiDAR startup has secured series A+ investment of $8M led by Korea Development Bank (KDB), bringing the company’s total capital raised so far to $14M.

Jiseong Jeong, the CEO of SOS LAB says: “The implementation of Solid-State LiDAR is a must for car LiDAR commercialization. This is because there are advantages in terms of price and durability as it can be mass produced in small sizes and components. However, satisfying the fixed standard (size, amount of power, distance, etc.) is the challenge Solid-State LiDAR must overcome. SOS LAB finds the solution to the challenge through the core technology. Our new product can detect distant objects by delivering high power despite its small size, which is a beam-steering technology that does not have any moving parts."

SOS LAB stated that it has not only entered into an MOU with ON Semiconductor in January but also establishing partnerships with OEMs and electronic component manufacturers at home and abroad for the development of LiDAR. It showed strong confidence about the commercialization of car LiDAR sensor for 2021.

1 comment:

  1. These LIDAR projects' difficulties have in fact very little to do with Covid-19. The pandemic is just being used as a smokescreen [ie., an invalid excuse] for too many firms having too many projects that would likely never see the light of day anyway.


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