Friday, April 09, 2021

LiDAR News: ON Semi, LeddarTech, Velodyne, Insight, Baraja

ON Semi and LeddarTech publish a joint webinar devoted to their common platform and adaptations that each company made in its design to be compatible with the other:

Veolodyne CEO Anand Gopalan gave a couple of interview on its outlook and SPAC merger. Few quotes:

"Is there enough room in the market for all of the lidar companies going public?

The story of the lidar business has been the story of Velodyne charting the course and then a bunch of people following. Even in this case, we went public as being the first pure-play lidar company to go public.

A few of them followed. I think there is room for more than one lidar company, but there may not room for so many. As we look at some of the other players, the two things that I would point to: One is scale. Velodyne produces more sensors in one quarter than all of these other guys have produced combined in 2020, based on their own public statements.

The applications we’re talking about require scale, and require that we can produce more than 100 units a year. Velodyne, based on all public information available out there seems to be the only player who’s by far way ahead of the competition.

What is Velodyne’s M&A strategy going to be in the next year or so?

I’ve said this in public before: There’s three sorts of things we would look for. 

There’s interesting technologies out there, laterally in the lidar space, which are not ready for prime-time yet, but obviously as having been the leader and first mover in the space, we track every single company in the space quite closely. There may be some interesting technologies that we could accelerate their time to market just on the backs of our ability to scale so quickly. 

That’s one type of acquisition that we might find interesting. The other one is, of course, we do see that there are other interesting sensor modalities that could be combined with lidar in certain applications, so definitely there’s opportunities around that.

The third one, which is really going to be a focus area, is that in a lot of these sorts of applications, we see customers looking not just for a sensor package, but looking for really higher levels of intelligence in terms of software and compute that go with the sensor package. They’re really looking for an entire solution, so we do see opportunities there as well.

Why is it taking so much longer than expected to get fully autonomous cars on the road?

I like to describe the autonomous vehicle, or the robotaxi, as kind of the moonshot in the industry, because similar to the moonshot, it’s the most challenging use case. But as a result of investing in that, many of these other applications have now become possible, whether it is these robotics applications like we are talking about or enhanced safety in the context of a consumer vehicle.

How does the delay in the rollout of autonomous passenger cars affect your business model?

We have been fortunate in that we have a very diversified base of customers, so while we have had some of these L4, L5 programs (delayed), we have had things like the supply chain robotics, applications around last-mile delivery to our homes — those applications actually (pushed forward). We had one customer who was going to roll out in 2023 or 2024 who actually pulled in and is rolling out in 2021.

As a result of that, our business has been fairly de-risked from a financial model perspective, so we have benefited from that. And I do believe, ultimately, that L4, L5 robotaxis will eventually come to fruition, and we continue to have a very robust market share in the space.

BisinessWire: Insight demos the pedestrian gesture recognition with its FMCW LiDAR: 

Insight LiDAR announces that its product, Insight 1600, combines high resolution and velocity detection to enable pedestrian gesture recognition. The new capability can be used by AV perception teams to quickly and accurately predict the actions of pedestrians.

Baraja announces it has raised a new investment round of $31M (AUD$40M). The latest capital raising  includes new strategic investment from Hitachi Construction Machinery. Hitachi’s strategic investment comes after a two-year partnership to validate Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan sensors in real-world scenarios that prove the technology’s reliability in harsh environments.

Hideshi Fukumoto, VP, Executive Officer, and CTO, Hitachi Construction Machinery; President of R&D Group; and President of Client Solutions Group, said: “Spectrum-Scan LiDAR is a must-have technology providing better autonomous sensing solutions for mining customers who demand increasingly higher safety and production efficiency. We are delighted to be working with Baraja, a company with leading-edge technology in this field."

1 comment:

  1. This interview from Velodyne reeks of arrogance. Velodyne assembled laser and detector chips on rotor boards, something which was quite common in defense space. Newbies that "followed" Velodyne started innovating chip-scale Lidars. Then, Velodyne followed its followers, and very late at it too.

    Starting out early in a market which is nascent for 20 years does not count as an advantage and one should not take pride in that, definitely not when one is not innovating. In fact as an alleged market leader, the onus is on you for the slow progress and dilapidated state of the Lidar industry.


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