LiDAR providers have devoted intensive efforts to making the technology essential, especially for autonomous driving (AD). At CES 2022, they introduced LiDAR products enabling better images and a more extended detection range. In addition, more announcements of partnership with carmakers suggest the rising popularity of these high-tech products.
LiDAR companies continue refining the technology to help autonomous vehicles "see" more details and more clearly under any conditions. The idea was reflected by Valeo's third-generation LiDAR scanner, Scala 3, which the company debuted at CES this year.
Valeo debuted its third-generation LiDAR
Valeo said the product provides a high-quality 3D real-time image with 4.5 million pixels and 25 frames per second. Compared with Scala 2, Scala 3's resolution has been increased 12-fold, the range 3-fold, and the viewing angle 2.5-fold.
The new LiDAR can see things that humans, cameras, and radars cannot. Valeo said Scala 3 delivers all the features of Scala 2 and more, even on a highway at speeds up to 130 km/h.
Scala 3 can function well in dazzlingly bright or pitch-black light conditions, according to the company's press release, and can measure the density of raindrops to calculate the right braking distance. It also can anticipate nearby vehicles' trajectories through algorithms even when they are not in the driver's line of sight, prompting safety maneuvers.
Valeo said the third-generation LiDAR will be available on the market in 2024.
Innoviz introduced a LiDAR sensor containing up to 1280 scanning lines
Innoviz brought its next-generation 360-degree LiDAR, Innoviz360. According to a press release, Innoviz360 allows multiple scanning software configurations with up to 1280 scanning lines, significantly outperforming its traditional counterparts, which contain up to 128 scanning lines.
Innoviz said the new LiDAR sensor features 360°x64° degree coverage, 0.05°x0.05° resolution, and a detection range of up to 300 meters.
The Israel-based company also said it has considerably cut the cost of Innoviz360; samples are expected to be available later this year. The LiDAR will facilitate Level 4 to Level 5 autonomous driving, including robotaxis, shuttles, and various non-automotive applications.
Innovusion offered LiDARs with different range
At the CES event, the US-based Innovusion showcased its long-range LiDAR, Falcon, and its short to mid-range counterpart, Robin. According to the company, Falcon is an image-grade LiDAR with a detection range of 500 meters that can be customized to meet any vehicle's need.
Innovusion said Falcon has been selected by NIO as the standard LiDAR for its autonomous sedan, ET7, and will be delivered in Q1 2022.
"After the start of production in 2022, our yearly LiDAR volume produced with our advanced production line can reach 100,000 units per year with higher volume possible after a few months of capacity expansion and will be able to support future demand from global OEMs," Junwei Bao, Innovusion's co-founder and CEO, said.
The size of bulky LiDAR devices can be inconvenient for many car designs, which has affected the technology's adoption in the automotive industry. Innovusion, along with its competitors, has researched the issue and offered solutions.
The company said its short to mid-range LiDAR, Robin, has a height only of 35 mm and offers 360-degree vehicle coverage. The lightweight device can be integrated into a car's side fender, headlights, rear lights, or bumpers.
Lumotive demonstrated how LiDAR might integrate with mobility products
Lumotive collaborated with ZKW Group, an Austrian lighting systems and electronics provider, to demonstrate a design that places a LiDAR device in a vehicle headlight.
According to Lumotive, the functional demonstration featured a prototype of the company's M30 module and Meta-Lidar platform using pulsed laser beams to measure distances between objects and the sensors.
The M30 is a golf-ball-sized LiDAR device that provides a 120°x 90° field of view and consumes little power, according to Lumotive's website. However, the device's detection range is about 20 meters.
The Seattle-based company said its Light Control Metasurface (LCM) solid-state beam steering chips significantly reduce the complexity, cost, and size of LiDAR systems. An exclusive feature of the Lumotive Meta-LiDAR platform is that its LCM technology allows customization of the LiDAR scan pattern, frame rate, and resolution for idiosyncratic use cases in real-time.
SOSLAB released advanced M1 LiDAR to the market
South Korea-based SOSLAB introduced its solid-state Mobility LiDAR (ML) to the market at CES 2022. According to the company's website, its ML sensor, with its advanced and switchable modular optics, provides accurate data even if its angle changes from 20° to 180°. It also can receive signals returning from up to 200 meters away.
SOSLAB said its product's wide-angle and long-range measuring features helped it win the CES 2021 Innovation Awards.
Luminar partnered with Volvo for developing an autonomous driving feature
Aside from announcements of advanced technology, LiDAR companies announced notable partnerships with automakers at CES 2022. Luminar and Volvo Cars announced a plan for an electric SUV that will be revealed later this year. Luminar, Volvo Cars, and AD software company Zenseact are collaborating to develop Ride Pilot, an unsupervised AD feature for Volvo Cars.
According to Luminar, Ride Pilot will include its Iris LiDAR and perception technology from its Sentinel solution. Iris is Luminar's auto-grade LiDAR; Iris enters series-production programs beginning in 2022. It features camera-like resolution greater than 300 points per square degree and its slim design facilitates integration with a car's roofline.
Volvo said Rider Pilot would be available as an add-on subscription for its next electric SUV and would be applied to highway driving in California first. The carmaker intends to begin testing on roads in California by the middle of 2022.
Enhanced LiDAR devices showcased at CES 2022
0.3 to 300m
up to 500m
short to mid-range
up to 600m, 250m at <10% reflectivity
Source: LiDAR providers, complied by DIGITIMES, 2022/1