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.
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.
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.
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.
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?