By Julian Horne, Partner
What is the current status of the Lidar industry and what are the greatest challenges? I spoke with Jordan Greene, Co-Founder and GM of Automotive at AEye.
“I think how the rubber meets the road is one of the biggest challenges right now. There’s a lot of noise and not a lot of apparent truths,” says Greene. “There are no clear-cut winners, but there’s a select group that seems to have made it to the final stages. I’d say that the biggest challenge right now is that most people are in early industrialization and manufacturing stages for pilots because high volume production programs have not yet been awarded. Everyone is in early development and design validation, working through the complexities of taking an auto grade component through the lengthy production part approval process. High volume production programs are just starting to take shape and in the 2024 and 2025 timeframe, that’s when we’ll see the market take shape and LiDAR companies consolidate, as those behind the first major wave are left behind.s ”
“I think that all OEMs will want to add Lidar in to their sensor suite for the purpose of either delivering a new feature to their consumers or increasing their safety rating ,” continues Greene. “There are many environments and performance capabilities that require LiDAR. If you’re trying to release a feature like Highway Autopilot for passenger vehicles or Hub-to-Hub Automation for commercial vehicles, the vehicle needs to be able to see something it can’t drive over at a far enough distance that it’s able to come to a safe stop or change lanes. So, when you start thinking about those prerequisites and what the requirements are for those driving scenarios, you have to look at which technologies allow you to achieve those features and functions… That’s when you quickly realize the value of AEye’s 4Sight Intelligent Sensing Platform. We really are second to none in those performance modes. I think the Lidar industry will start to be consolidated into short range/mid range applications and ultra long range, high performance applications.”
“As a consumer, the ultra long range, high performance applications are going to be the most desirable features for you to buy. This performances lends itself to features like hybrid autopilot, so that you never have to sit in traffic again. You’ll be able to read, work, sleep or watch TV instead of worrying about what is happening on the road. And that is genuinely on the horizon. Similarly, in commercial vehicle applications and logistics, the demand for goods right now is very high and growing, and the logistics industry is has a deficit of workers. For you as a consumer to get your packages in two days or less guaranteed without any question is going to be absolutely dictated by being able to have that type of automated capabillities in a vehicle or in a truck.”
Greene and his team, alongside AEye founder and inventor, Luis Dussan, brought together a team of scientists and electro-optics experts from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, DARPA, and many more, to create their ultra high performing 4Sight Intelligent Sensing Platform, which is aimed at ensuring the highest levels of safety for autonomous driving machines. To listen to Greene is to understand the passion for his product: “I believe that we can build this company into something pretty spectacular. We have all the right makings, both at the team and technology level, as well as through our powerful business model, We have a really novel platform that could be phenomenally influential for the future of autonomous vehicles and their safety and reliability.”