Articles, Perception & Sensor Tech, Sensor Fusion

The Competitive Market of Lidar Systems

New players are constantly being added to the sensor market and some are changing. A relatively new example is Cepton, which was founded just three years ago. Meanwhile Luminar is gaining new partners and LeddarTech has reduced its offer to the provision of platforms. But this news came somewhat unexpectedly: With the robot taxi service provider Waymo, a new competitor is entering the market selling its lidar system.

Judicial history of the lidar

The Waymo lidar is known beyond the boundaries of the industry. This is not only because it is relatively cheap, but also because there has been a court case about the data of this lidar. A few years ago, Anthony Levandowski was working for the company now called Waymo and then Google. He then switched to the driving service agent Uber, who also works on autonomous driving, via several startups. Apparently he took data concerning the lidar with him, which they wanted to use at Uber. But Waymo sued Uber and won. In the meantime, Levandowski has returned to the industry with a new company.

Lidar Bear Honeycomb

The Lidar called Bear Honeycomb is used by Waymo vehicles and rotates on the roof of the vehicles which have level 4. It has a vertical field of view (FOV) of 95 degrees and can look around 360 degrees. The construction even allows different lidar sensors to be mounted on top of each other. The Waymo lidar can detect four objects per light beam and is used at close range.

This lidar will be available for purchase soon, but no price has been given yet. Also, Waymo will not be selling his premium sensor to everyone. It will not be sold to companies that build robot taxis. The sensor sale is intended for robotics companies or the agricultural sector. Whether the software for the interpretation of the data is sold with it is also still unclear.

About the author:

David Flora is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: www.autonomes-fahren.de

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