LIDAR Sensors

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What are lidar sensors?

Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, maps objects in 3-D by bouncing laser beams off its surroundings. The technology is also referred to as LIDAR, LiDAR, and LADAR.

How is lidar technology used?

Lidar technology has been around since the 1960s. Early uses were in meteorology, where its used to measure clouds. The Apollo 15 used lidar sensors to map the surface of the moon. Today, lidar has a wide range of applications, everything from archaeology to astronomy to video games. Car companies developing self-driving technologies rely on lidar sensors to help vehicles safely navigate roads and identify hazards like other cars or pedestrians.

How do lidar sensors work?

Lidar surveys its environment by calculating the distance to objects by illuminating that object with a pulsed laser light and timing the reflected-back pulses with a sensor. Differences in return times and wavelengths are used to make digital representations of the surroundings. The best lidar sensors can see details of a few centimeters at distances of more than 100 meters.

Are lidar sensors expensive?

Lidar sensors cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars apiece. Most self-driving vehicles include multiple lidar sensors. Costs for sensors need to come down before driverless vehicles can be mass-marketed.

Why are lidar sensors expensive?

Moving parts in lidar sensors drive much of the cost. Manufacturers are racing to develop fixed or solid-state lidar sensor. Velodyne, the company that Ford and Baidu invested $150 million in jointly, reported it could make solid-state lidars as cheap as $50 (although it hasn’t released a timeline). Quanergy said it will start making a $250 solid-state lidar by the end of this year.

Who manufacturers lidar sensors?

Some of the key manufacturers include Quanergy, Velodyne, Continental, Mobileye and LeddarTech.

Is there a shortage of lidar sensors?

In the past, lidar sensors were in demand by a small, niche market. That all changed when the auto industry started to install them in autonomous cars. Last year, it took auto manufacturers just a few weeks to receive their lidar sensors. Currently, the wait can stretch 6 months

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