US: Velodyne has announced a solid-state automotive LiDAR ranging system that will be released in test kits later this year. The company has also announced to mass produce these LiDAR systems by 2018 at its San Jose, California-based megafactory. The estimated price per unit is in the hundreds of dollars.
The solid-state LiDAR system could be mass produced at much cost effective rates. With this new technology in hand, Velodyne hopes to win the new phase of this game by being first to the market.
In the LiDAR market, Velodyne’s rivals have cited even faster schedules. For instance, the startup Innoviz, in Israel, has promised to market a US $100 solid-state LiDAR by 2018.
Quanergy, one of the first solid-state LiDAR startups, perhaps poses the most immediate challenge to Velodyne. Unlike Velodyne, Quanergy has a manufacturing partner with plenty of experience with the automotive sector.
“This year is when we will be providing samples to the broader market—an announcement will be coming soon,” said Greg Noelte, Sensata’s global director for business development, in an interview earlier this month. “We’re targeting 2020–2022 for high-volume production.”
Noelte said that the key to winning the game would be in getting large numbers of units that meet tough automotive specifications and that Sensata’s many decades of experience in manufacturing gave it an edge.
“It’s one thing to produce a few prototypes, another to produce one that can last 100,000 to 150,000 miles reliably,” he said. “Our specialty is in making it work, in process development.”