i3 - July/August 2018 - 19

R
A
D

BY ROBERT E. CALEM

ou can't navigate the world without perceiving what's
around you, through sight or some other means - and
the same is true for cars. Besides high-definition maps that
help determine precisely where a vehicle is, automakers are
pursuing new ways a self-driving car can react to the people
and objects along its path. With enough support, some could
be on the road next year.
The newest tech in this realm is the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor, and its utility isn't limited to selfdriving cars. It will soon be in vehicles that offer
ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) features such as pedestrian detection with
automatic emergency braking.
LiDAR is a complement to the
radars and cameras found
in ADAS-equipped
cars today.

Y

credit

HTS

CAPABILITIES MATTER, ALONG WITH PRICE

"It's not about one sensor, it's about combining all these sensors," says Frederic Bruneteau, managing director and
founder of Ptolemus Consulting Group in Brussels, Belgium.
Together they form the right mix "that solves all the issues
that you want to solve," he adds.
"All three of the sensors have different strengths and weaknesses," explains Shiv Patel, research analyst for smart mobility
and automotive at ABI Research in Wellingborough, England.
"Radar has got great range but poor resolution. The camera has
poor range and great resolution but struggles to interpret distances to other vehicles, and also struggles in poor lighting conditions. And LiDAR sits in between the two. The range is not as good
as the radar and the resolution is not as good as the camera, but
it's better than the camera in adverse conditions." He says, "We are
going to need all three sensor types in a self-driving car."
LiDAR's main challenge is pricing. Yet Patel says price drops
are inevitable, noting that anti-lock braking systems (ABS)
cost $8,000 apiece when they were introduced decades ago,
and now cost $50 each. Prices now can reach the low tens of
thousands of dollars per unit at the high end, and below
$1,000 at the low end, but previously LiDAR prices ranged
above $75,000 each. Patel expects prices for individual
LiDARs to drop to $200 by 2022 while the current industrywide goal is $500 or less.
Of course, rising production of self-driving cars will help bring
down LiDAR prices by decreasing scarcity.
According to ABI Research, "shipments" of self-driving cars
(SAE Levels 3-5) are expected to surge between now and the end
of the next decade: from 87,000 vehicles in 2018 to 270,350 in
2020, 7.76 million in 2025 and 37.744 million in 2030.
ABI forecasts the LiDAR market to surge in that same timeframe. From negligible this year (counted as 0.0 million by
ABI), worldwide LiDAR shipments will reach 310,000 in
2020 and grow to 36.27 million in 2025. By 2030, ABI says
170.97 million LiDAR sensors will ship globally.
Partnerships among automakers, tier 1 (or primary) suppliers and sensor makers (tier 2 suppliers) will play a role in
LiDAR proliferation and price declines, too. Patel points to
Samsung's DRVLINE autonomous driving and ADAS platform debuted at CES 2018. DRVLINE presents a choice of
LiDAR sensors from Samsung's partners - Quanergy, Innoviz,
Tetravue and Occulii - in addition to a new ADAS forwardfacing camera system created by Samsung and Harman.

EVOLUTION TO REVOLUTION

"For any type of vehicle automation, the
first thing you need to do is build



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