US: LeddarTech, founded in 2007, started in transportation systems with traffic management solutions, and from there evolved into a company focused on bringing technology and modules for integrators to develop and integrate LiDAR into their systems.
“At LeddarTech we have two business units, divided between let’s say the mature automotive passenger market and the commercial vehicle market, so mainly working with Tier 1s and addressing OEM requirements for the automotive industry,” Poulin explained. “But we also have a business unit that’s addressing several other markets.
“I’d say we’re mainly targeting mobility, so vehicles and smart transportation systems, any types of vehicles. They can be industrial vehicles. Anything that needs to have a perception of its environment and it can go beyond mobility to less traditional vehicles like drones, and also robotics and other fields.”
With an eye on the automotive industry from its inception, the company’s first-generation 2D LiDAR solution was developed for Valeo, an automotive supplier/partner to automakers worldwide.
With a background that includes working with Valeo, LeddarTech has a solid understanding of the automotive industry, the supply chain and the value chain, Poulin said.
“We work closely with Tier 1s who we see as the ideal partners to industrialize the LiDAR and bring this into volume production to supply to the OEMs,” he said. “And of course the Tier 1s need a fully qualified supply chain, ideally with all components that can be second sourced. Automotive production is very demanding in terms of the supply chain and meeting the deliveries. Also, cost is a significant criteria for the automotive industry.”
“We actually accelerated our pace in the automotive market with this trend and the strong demand for LiDAR that I’d say just came in the last three years with this whole theme of autonomous driving,” Poulin said. “The LCA2 and LCA3 are our second and third generations of these SOC (system-on-chip) products that we’re offering to the full automotive industry. These two core products are the core component to the LiDAR platform that we’re bringing to market. We believe these two products provide the scalability and flexibility required by the industry to develop cost-optimized LiDAR sensor suite for autonomous vehicles.”
The main difference between LCA2 and LCA3 is that LCA3 provides increased performance in terms of range and number of pixels, or segments. The LCA2, however, provides a more cost-effective solution.
“LiDAR is really one of the key technologies that will enable autonomous driving,” Poulin added. “It is one of the pieces of the puzzle that really needs to be solved by everyone who is in this space or who is developing autonomous vehicles. There is huge interest and also a huge business opportunity. A LiDAR is a complex system. There are several pieces you have to put together, so we make that a lot easier for the Tier 1s.”
LeddarTech works up front very closely with other key component suppliers in the supply chain, such as the laser suppliers, photo detector suppliers, and for example the processor suppliers. The reason for this, Poulin said, is because these are key components and they have a very significant impact on the performance and the cost of the complete LiDAR solution.