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Posted on September 20, 2022 by  & 

Evolving Automotive Lidar Technologies and Business Landscape

Light detection and ranging, or lidar, has decades of history since the invention of the laser, and it has already been adopted in applications such as mapping, surveying, military, archaeology, agriculture, geology, etc. With the innovation of lidar beam steering technologies, continuous lidar cost reduction, as well as the progress of Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS) and Autonomous vehicles (AV), lidars are embracing their potential US$8.4 billion-dollar market by 2033, enabled by automotive applications, which can be further widely expanded to other areas such as robotics, industrial, smart city, and mapping. The IDTechEx report "Lidar 2023-2033: Technologies, Players, Markets & Forecasts" provides research on lidar from technology, business, and market to players.

Bigger Opportunities Enabled by ADAS and AV

Autonomy is another big trend after electrification in the automotive sector. Automotive autonomy can potentially change our lifestyle and also offers huge business opportunities for existing and emerging technologies. An important part of autonomy is sensing and recognition. Sensors such as cameras, ultrasonic systems, and radars can already provide useful information for this purpose. However, none of them are perfect. For instance, cameras offer color and high-definition images but suffer from poor depth information and can be easily affected by the sun. The ultrasonic system is very cheap but has a very short detection range. Radar is quite robust to bad weather conditions but gives very poor resolution. The typical 2-3° angular resolution (e.g. 2° at 100m cannot distinguish a distance larger than 3.4m) of radar makes most object detection challenging.
Typical object dimensions. Source: IDTechEx
Opinions on which sensors to include in an ADAS/AV system are controversial as they involve different cost structures. More sensors can also generate confusing information, leading to a more difficult decision-making process. However, as time goes by, more and more OEM and Tier-1 companies believe lidar should be included in the sensor suite for redundancy purposes. As the AV evolves to higher levels of autonomy, this demand becomes more obvious.
Minimum hardware requirements for ADAS/ AV. Source: IDTechEx

Competitive Technology Landscape

The huge demand for vehicles and high investment from the automotive industry has attracted tremendous players to work in the lidar area. Currently, lidar is still relatively immature, with an unestablished supply chain or a clear market landscape. For instance, in terms of technology area, IDTechEx has segmented the technology analysis into four areas: measurement process, emitter, beam steering mechanism, and receiver.
Four important technology choices in designing or selecting a 3D lidar module. Source: IDTechEx
While the real scenario can be more complicated, such as with the addition of wavelength choice and optical system selection. Even the hardware technology is a result of complicated sub-technology combinations, not to say when algorithms, software, and system solutions are taken into consideration. The rapid development of different technologies makes the lidar market complicated. However, not all technologies have equal opportunities. Some technology combinations are easier to be commercialized, while some tend to be a failure.
Possible lidar technology combinations. Source: IDTechEx

From Materials, and Components to Systems

Lidar development provides opportunities to various industries and players within the supply chain. Lidar hardware can be simplified as a combination of a few major component modules. For example, beam steering mechanisms have attracted tremendous attention, and lots of innovations are around them. They enable 3D scanning and determine lidar reliability. However, equal attention should be given to transmitter and receiver modules are they will largely determine lidar performance and play an important role in further cost reduction. Control and processing modules, on the other hand, usually have higher technology barriers, and they can also offer space for a price drop. An understanding of the whole supply chain, from materials, and components to systems, can assist in better strategic decision-making.
Lidar component descriptions. Source: IDTechEx
Following a period of dedicated research by expert analysts, IDTechEx published their report "Lidar 2023-2033: Technologies, Players, Markets & Forecasts". This report offers unique insights into the global 3D lidar technology landscape and corresponding market. The report contains a comprehensive analysis of 95 players developing 3D lidar for the ADAS and autonomous vehicles market, which includes a detailed assessment of technology innovations and market dynamics. While the market analysis and forecasts focus on the automotive industry, the technology analysis and company profiles also cover lidar for industrial automation, robotics, smart city, security, and mapping. Importantly, the report presents an unbiased analysis of primary data gathered via our interviews with key players, and it builds on our expertise in the transport, electronics, and photonics sectors.
IDTechEx has focused on players who position themselves as automotive Tier 2 suppliers, with coverage of component suppliers and automotive OEMs. The report explores how innovations in lidar technology affect the growth of lidar market segments. In the technical analysis chapters, IDTechEx uses its experience in physics research to explain novel technical concepts to a non-specialist audience. Market forecasts are based on the extensive analysis of primary and secondary data, combined with careful consideration of market drivers, restraints, and key player activities. The technology adoption roadmaps for six types of lidar in four types of level 3+ autonomous vehicles are evaluated to provide a balanced outlook on market opportunities.
The IDTechEx report, "Lidar 2023-2033: Technologies, Players, Markets & Forecasts", answers important questions such as:
  • What are the lidar technology choices available today, and how do these choices impact product development and product positioning?
  • What is the present status of each lidar technology, and what are the future trends and opportunities?
  • How is the lidar business landscape evolving in terms of the supply chain, efforts, and partnerships?
  • How will each lidar market segment evolve in the short-term and long-term?
For more information on technology benchmarking, business opportunity exploration, player activities tracking, market analysis, please refer to IDTechEx report "Lidar 2023-2033: Technologies, Players, Markets & Forecasts".
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Authored By:

Research Director, Topic Lead

Posted on: September 20, 2022

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