Evolution of Automotive Lidar Technologies and the Commercial Landscape

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Light detection and ranging, or lidar, has decades of history since the invention of the laser, and it has already been adopted in applications such as mapping, surveying, military, archeology , agriculture, geology, etc. With the innovation of beam steering lidar technologies, the continued reduction in lidar costs, as well as advances in Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV), lidars are embracing their potential market. of $8.4 billion by 2033, made possible by automotive applications, which can be further widely extended to other areas such as robotics, industry, smart city and mapping. The IDTechEx report “Lidar 2023-2033: Technologies, Players, Markets and Forecast” provides technology, business and market lidar research to players.

Autonomy is another big trend after electrification in the automotive sector. Automotive autonomy has the potential to change our way of life and also offers huge commercial opportunities for existing and emerging technologies. An important part of autonomy is detection and recognition. Sensors such as cameras, ultrasound systems and radars can already provide useful information for this purpose. However, none of them are perfect. For example, cameras offer color and high-definition images, but suffer from poor depth information and can be easily affected by sunlight. The ultrasonic system is very inexpensive but has a very short detection range. The radar is quite robust to bad weather conditions but gives very poor resolution. The typical 2-3° angular resolution (eg, 2° at 100m cannot distinguish beyond 3.4m) of radar makes most object detection difficult.

Typical dimensions of the object. Source: IDTechEx

Opinions on which sensors to include in an ADAS/AV system are controversial as they involve different cost structures. A larger number of sensors can also generate confusing information, leading to a more difficult decision-making process. However, over time, more OEMs and Tier 1 companies believe that lidar should be included in the sensor suite for redundancy. As AV evolves to higher levels of autonomy, this demand becomes more evident.

The huge demand for vehicles and the high investments from the automotive industry have attracted huge players to work in the field of lidar. Currently, lidar is still relatively immature, with an unestablished supply chain or clear market landscape. For example, in terms of technology area, IDTechEx has segmented the technology analysis into four areas: measurement process, transmitter, beam steering mechanism, and receiver.

Four important technological choices in the design or selection of a 3D lidar module. Source: IDTechEx

While the actual scenario may be more complicated, such as with the addition of wavelength choice and optical system selection. Even hardware technology is the result of complex combinations of sub-technologies, not to mention the consideration of algorithms, software, and system solutions. The rapid development of different technologies complicates the lidar market. However, not all technologies have the same chances. Some technology combinations are easier to market, while others tend to fail.

Possible combinations of lidar technology. Source: IDTechEx

The development of lidar provides opportunities for various sectors and actors in the supply chain. Lidar hardware can be simplified by combining a few major component modules. For example, beam steering mechanisms have attracted a lot of attention and many innovations surround them. They enable 3D scanning and determine the reliability of the lidar. However, equal attention should be given to the transmitter and receiver modules as they will largely determine the performance of the lidar and play an important role in reducing cost. Control and processing modules, on the other hand, usually have higher technological barriers and may also offer room for a price drop. An understanding of the entire supply chain, from materials and components to systems, can aid in better strategic decision-making.

Descriptions of lidar components. Source: IDTechEx
After a dedicated period of research by expert analysts, IDTechEx has published its report “Lidar 2023-2033: Technologies, Players, Markets & Forecasts”. This report offers unique insights into the global 3D lidar technology landscape and market. The report contains a comprehensive analysis of 95 players developing 3D lidar for ADAS and Autonomous Vehicles market, which includes a detailed assessment of technological innovations and market dynamics. While the market analysis and forecasts focus on the automotive industry, the technology analysis and company profiles also cover lidar for industrial automation, robotics, smart city, security and mapping . Importantly, the report presents an unbiased analysis of primary data collected during our interviews with key players and draws on our expertise in the transportation, electronics and photonics industries.

IDTechEx focused on players that position themselves as Tier 2 automotive suppliers, with coverage of component suppliers and automotive OEMs. The report explores how innovations in lidar technology are affecting the growth of lidar market segments. In technical analysis chapters, IDTechEx uses its experience in physics research to explain new technical concepts to a non-specialist audience. The market forecast is based on an in-depth analysis of primary and secondary data, combined with a careful examination of market drivers, restraints and activities of key players. Technology adoption roadmaps for six types of lidar in four types of Level 3+ autonomous vehicles are assessed to provide a balanced perspective on market opportunities.

  • What are the lidar technology choices available today, and how do these choices affect product development and positioning?
  • What is the current status of each lidar technology and what are the future trends and opportunities?
  • How is the lidar business landscape changing in terms of supply chain, efforts and partnerships?
  • How will each lidar market segment evolve in the short and long term?
IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its research, subscription and advisory products, helping you take advantage of emerging technologies. For more information, contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com.
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