Cheaper sensors could speed more self-driving cars to market by 2022




  • In Business
  • 2019-06-12 20:27:58Z
  • By By Paul Lienert and Stephen Nellis
Cheaper sensors could speed more self-driving cars to market by 2022
Cheaper sensors could speed more self-driving cars to market by 2022  

By Paul Lienert and Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) - The first heavily automated mass-market vehicles for consumers could go on sale as soon as 2022, if one or more vehicle manufacturers adopt a new sub-$500 lidar sensing package being developed by Silicon Valley startup Luminar.

The tremendous cost of lidar - prices for individual sensors currently range from about $6,000 to more than $100,000 - is one of the big stumbling blocks to the wide rollout of self-driving vehicles, whether in commercial delivery and robo-taxi fleets such as those being developed by Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co, or in passenger vehicles aimed at consumers.

Luminar has developed a low-cost lidar platform that bundles hardware and software and is being tested by several automakers, according to Austin Russell, Luminar chief executive officer and founder.

The company's new Iris system will be offered in two versions, one that will enable hands-free "freeway autonomy" and a less expensive version that will enable some automated functions, such as automatic emergency steering and braking. The first is designed to sell for under $1,000 at higher production volumes, while the second, which is intended to plug into manufacturers' advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), is expected to sell for under $500, Russell told Reuters.

Manufacturers and suppliers are increasingly skeptical about the speed of adoption of fully automated self-driving systems, because of both their high cost and complexity. In the meantime, they have begun focusing on deploying more ADAS features, which share components, but cost much less and can generate much-needed revenue to help defray the cost of developing full self-driving systems.

Lidar-driven ADAS "can be more easily monetized by the manufacturers (and) more easily implemented today" than fully automated systems, said Steve Lambright, vice president of marketing for lidar startup AEye, which is developing components for both types of systems.

In the meantime, a long-predicted shakeout in the lidar sector has yet to materialize, judging from a recent flurry of investments and acquisitions, even though the industry has yet to embrace a single lidar technology.

Israeli startup Innoviz, backed by suppliers Aptiv Plc and Magna International Inc , just closed a Series C round of funding and has raised a total of $252 million - more than any of its rivals - with new money from SoftBank Ventures Asia and several large Chinese investors.

A new player, North Carolina-based Sense Photonics, this week closed a Series A round and has raised more than $43 million, with backing from corporate investors Samsung Ventures and Shell Ventures.

Aurora, a Silicon Valley self-driving startup backed by e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc and automaker Hyundai Motor Co , recently acquired Montana-based lidar startup Blackmore.

Blackmore is developing a more expensive lidar technology called FMCW, as are startups OURS Technology, founded by a former University of California Berkeley researcher, and SiLC Technologies, founded by a silicon photonics veteran.

FMCW components can cost more, but the devices use less power and can be made compact, according to Mehdi Asghari, chief executive of SiLC, who adds: "These things will eventually go into headlamps, rearview mirrors or the body of the car."


(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

COMMENTS

More Related News

UK car industry warns next PM no-deal Brexit is not an option
UK car industry warns next PM no-deal Brexit is not an option

Britain's car industry called on Tuesday for the next prime minister to secure a Brexit deal which keeps frictionless trade with the EU, warning a no-deal exit risked billions of pounds in tariffs and border disruption which could cripple the sector. Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to succeed Theresa May, and his leadership rival Jeremy Hunt have both said they are prepared to take Britain out of the EU without a deal, although both says it is not their preferred option. Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Mike Hawes said the impact of Brexit was already being felt.

Goodwood Festival of Speed: upcoming new car debuts
Goodwood Festival of Speed: upcoming new car debuts

The Goodwood Festival of Speed isn't just an opportunity for automobile manufacturers to show off their cars' muscles, it's also an opportunity for them to debut new vehicles. With the UK's annual Goodwood Festival of Speed just over a week away, car companies from across the world have begun teasing the models that will debut at the event. A couple of weeks ago, Lexus announced that it would be launching a production version of the LC convertible concept that was revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Do Options Traders Know Something About Ford (F) Stock We Don
Do Options Traders Know Something About Ford (F) Stock We Don't?

Investors need to pay close attention to Ford (F) stock based on the movements in the options market lately.

Martin Truex Jr. fends off teammate Kyle Busch for Sonoma victory
Martin Truex Jr. fends off teammate Kyle Busch for Sonoma victory

Martin Truex Jr. continued Joe Gibbs Racing's dominating run this season and at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

1967 Ford Mustang Keeps Things Authentic
1967 Ford Mustang Keeps Things Authentic

In a sea of restomods, this pony keeps things original throughout. It's always refreshing to see people go to great lengths to bring an old classic back to its original form. That's what this 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback S-Code is all about. Actually, the full-rotisserie restoration process didn't just match the pony's original specs, the craftsmanship rises to a higher level. This absolutely stunning machine comes to market via Vanguard Motor Sales.Thanks to the professional restoration, this fastback is bathed in the original Brittney Blue paint, which is absolutely silky smooth. All the body panels are straight, the trim and badges are all in top shape, there's zero sign of pitting or...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.