HONG KONG – Tailor Insight, the fintech market research organization, recently released a research report “WIMI and other Tech Giants Are into the Battlefield while Lidar accelerating the Commercialization of Autonomous Driving while”. With the global explosion of the new energy vehicle market, more and more manufacturers have begun to launch smart electric vehicles. Recently, it has been discovered that lidar has become almost the “standard configuration” of the upcoming smart electric vehicles, but Tesla believes that only fools use lidar.
Firstly, from the perspective of the new energy vehicle market in China, 2021 will be the first year of lidar on-board. Car companies such as XPEV US and NEXTEV have announced that they will launch mass production models equipped with lidar this year. Honda, Toyota Lexus, and Great Wall Automobile have all stated that they will mass-produce lidar vehicles in 2021. Although the commercialization of lidar has started as early as 2000, it has not been until recent years that lidar has entered a stage of rapid development with the electrification, intelligence, and driving of the automotive industry.
What is Lidar? The biggest advantage of lidar over other autonomous driving sensors is the ability to accurately model the surrounding environment in 3D. Millimeter-wave radar can measure distances at high speed. Cameras can identify lane lines and speed limit signs, and ultrasonic radar has a short practical detection range and is only suitable for low-speed parking, while lidar can accurately identify targets and detect dynamic obstacles, which is not available in other sensors.
LiDAR is an active measuring device that emits laser light to measure the precise distance between an object and a sensor. It allows the vehicle to perceive the surrounding environment more accurately. It is widely regarded as an essential component for autonomous vehicles in L3 level (advanced driver assistance systems, ADAS) and L4/L5 level (driverless), which is the “eyes of intelligent driving”.
According to the difference in technical architecture, lidars are mainly divided into three categories: mechanical rotary lidars that rotate, semi-solid lidars with stationary transceiver modules, and solid-state lidars. Among them, the mechanical rotary lidar developed the earliest, and the current technology is relatively mature. However, due to the complexity of its system structure and the high cost, it is difficult to achieve mass production.
According to Sullivan’s research data, driven by factors such as the expansion of the driverless fleet and the increase in the penetration rate of advanced driver assistance systems, the global market for lidar will reach $13.54 billion by 2025, which is expected to reach a 64.5% compound annual growth rate compared with 2019.
As the cost gradually enters the acceptable range of the consumer market, more and more car companies are planning to install lidar on the new mid-to-high-end models, and the car-level lidar is about to usher in a turning point of industrialization.
As early as 2010, Valeo, the world’s top ten auto parts and system integration supplier, cooperated with the German lidar company Ibeo to develop the car-level lidar SCALA. Afterward, it achieved mass production in 2017 and has been successfully installed in the flagship model Audi A8. In addition, car companies such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, NEXTEV, XPEV US, Volvo, Great Wall Automobile have also begun lidar testing.
Research data shows that in 2025, six million new cars worldwide will be equipped with lidar, and the penetration rate of L3 autonomous driving for passenger cars will reach 6%. According to Sullivan’s estimates, the automotive-grade lidar market will reach $4.61 billion in 2025, with a compound growth rate of 83.7% from 2019 to 2025.
Obviously, the importance of being able to quickly seize the strategic high ground of the automotive-grade market is self-evident, and this is also one of the important reasons why many lidar manufacturers are vying to be listed first. Therefore, with the lidar blessing, the self-driving vehicle is probably like a nearsighted person who has obtained a pair of glasses that are more suitable for him. Therefore, in China’s new energy vehicle market, major car companies have stated that lidar will become a necessity for autonomous driving.
In this lidar competition, the current appearance of Huawei has made the market frenzy. At present, with the arrival of the turning point in the commercialization of lidar, especially the huge prospects of car-level products, global technology giants such as Huawei, Intel, and WIMI Hologram Cloud have begun to enter this field, and industry competition may further intensify.
As a representative of global AI visual holographic AR companies, as well as the company that Weibo has a strategic investment of more than 60 million dollars, the recent performance of WIMI Hologram Cloud is also eye-catching. Since the announcement of the patent of the 3D holographic pulse laser processing device for optical holography, many industry application customers have shown strong market demand. Thus, WIMI decided to develop the 3D holographic pulse Lidar product, “WIMI HoloPulse HUD”, to further expand the company’s holographic product portfolio matrix.
WIMI HoloPulse LiDAR is a multi-functional holographic pulse 3D solid-state lidar, the goal is to reach a detection distance of more than 200m and can capture high-resolution 3D holographic images. LiDAR uses MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) micro galvanometer to provide high resolution, long detection range, and wide field of view. Through dynamic control, LiDAR can flexibly adjust the vertical resolution and frame rate, such as allowing the focus area to be dynamically defined. LiDAR uses solid-state silicon detectors, which can reliably detect weak reflections from distant objects and strong reflections from close objects. Digital signal processing is to determine the precise position in the three-dimensional space through filtering, correlation, and statistical analysis. The point cloud generated by the LiDAR sensor can map the sensor environment in 3D. A single point cloud can be composed of tens of thousands of distance points (a single distance measurement), which contains holographic data of 3D original environment information. The software stack extracts a lot of abstract information from the holographic data, transmits commands to the actuator through deep neural network control, and presents 3D holographic data.
The WIMI HoloPulse LiDAR solution provides software development kits that match the hardware products, including target detection, classification, and counting functions. Combined with software recognition algorithms, it can provide solutions for many fields, such as autonomous driving, environment perception, 3D holographic imaging, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), traffic management, and 3D printing, which quickly expands the application market of holographic technology.
According to some reports, WIMI focuses on holographic cloud services, mainly in vehicle-mounted AR holographic HUD, 3D holographic pulse LiDAR, head-mounted light field holographic equipment, holographic semiconductor, holographic cloud software, holographic car navigation, and other professional fields, covering multiple links of AR technology, including holographic vehicle-mounted AR technology, 3D holographic pulse LiDAR technology, holographic vision semiconductor technology, holographic software development, holographic AR advertising technology, holographic AR entertainment technology, holographic ARSDK payment, interactive holographic communication, and so on. It is a holographic cloud comprehensive technical solution provider.
However, although the entry of technology giants will intensify industry competition, it will also accelerate the commercialization of lidar to a certain extent. As long as the cost is further compressed to a range that is completely acceptable in the consumer market, lidar will no longer be tasteless in Musk’s eyes, and will also promote the real landing of unmanned driving technology.
Overall, the development of lidar technology has given birth to a new industrial chain. Since the DARPA Driverless Challenge in the United States, the global driverless industry has entered a period of rapid development. The realization of driverless technology and the landing of driverless taxi/unmanned truck services rely on the high-precision sensing information provided by lidar. In addition, the environmental perception capabilities of lidar can expand existing driving assistance functions and improve vehicle safety, providing important support for the advanced driving assistance industry for OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) and Tier 1 companies. At the same time, lidar technology has also promoted the rise of the service-oriented robot industry and the Internet of Vehicles industry. Service-oriented robots can realize unmanned distribution and unmanned cleaning functions by giving robots the ability to perceive intelligently. The Internet of Vehicles realizes safer, more comfortable, and intelligent transportation services through the interconnection of cars and cars, cars and roads, and cars and cloud platforms. Lidar technology has promoted the development of new industries, and the rise of new industries has brought new development opportunities to society.
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