Marelli Automotive Lighting Systems CEO Sylvain Dubois (left), XenmetriX CEO Filip Geuens, and Marelli Chief Technology & Engineering Officer Dr. Detlef Juerss sign their partnership agreement at CES 2020.

Light detection and ranging (LiDAR), the vision technology underpinning dozens of autonomous driving and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), was a hot technology at CES 2020, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January. Several companies announced new systems, partnerships, or applications, including:

Marelli/XenomatiX – Global Tier 1 supplier Marelli (formerly part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [FCA]), is partnering with solid-state LiDAR supplier XenomatiX for autonomous vehicles (AV) applications. XenomatiX will provide Marelli’s automotive lighting division with LiDAR systems for ADAS and AVs. XenomatiX uses non-scanning LiDAR, sending out multiple beams to capture entire scenes in one flash, instead of using a spinning sensor to take multiple readings. Eliminating moving parts increases reliability and simplifies the system.

Marelli Automotive Lighting CEO Sylvain Dubois says XenomatiX will allow Marelli’s systems to better identify and classify objects with artificial intelligence.;

Hesai PandarQT

Hesai Technology – PandarQT is a 64-channel LiDAR from Hesai for blind spot detection with a 104.2° (±52.1°) x 360° ultra-wide field of view (FOV). Features include:

  • Interference rejection technology to prevent interference from nearby LiDARs, lowering false detections
  • Precision time protocol (PTP) time synchronization to simplify cabling

Hesai engineers designed PandarQT for use in combination with its Pandar64 long-range sensors. The sensors provide close-in support for near-vehicle issues such as lane changes and blind-spot checks.

Carnavicom VL-AS16

Carnavicom – South Korean automotive supplier Carnavicom’s VL-AS16 LiDAR sensor is a 16-channel based scanning unit suitable for AV environments. Scanning sensors have lowered costs by 26% by finding local suppliers for key components such as brushless direct current motor, laser diode, and avalanche photodiode.

In addition, the supplier revealed a 3-channel LiDAR and announced plans for affordable, 1,550nm wavelength, solid-state LiDAR units soon.

Carnavicom invested about $3.5 million in 2019 to construct a surface-mount technology line capable of producing 1.8 million units annually.

Velodyne Velabit

Velodyne Lidar – Velabit, Velodyne’s smallest sensor, increases versatility and lowers costs for users. The mid-range sensor can be combined with other Velodyne sensors, such as the Velarray, for high-speed operation or function as a standalone LiDAR solution in low-speed applications.

Features include:

  • 2.4" x 2.4" x 1.38" footprint
  • Up to 100m range
  • 60° horizontal FOV x 10° vertical FOV
  • Bottom connector with cable length options

“The Velabit democratizes LiDAR with its ultra-small form factor and its sensor pricing targeted at $100 in high-volume production, making 3D LiDAR available for all safety-critical applications,” says Velodyne CEO Anand Gopalan.

The Velabit will be available in mid-2020.

Camera-cleaning systems: a growth market

Nissan began offering self-cleaning cameras on some versions of its vehicles in 2013.
Photo courtesy of Nissan

The global automotive camera cleaning system market is projected to expand as externally mounted cameras for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicle systems get dirty, reducing the quality of data coming into vehicles.

Increased reliance of automotive safety features on cameras and 360° view cameras is anticipated to propel the automotive camera cleaning system market at an exponential growth rate during the forecast period, according to a report from Transparency Market Research. Moreover, rise in per capita income is anticipated to positively impact the automotive camera cleaning system market as consumers spend more on luxury and leisure, increasing demand for premium and luxury vehicles that include advanced safety systems, including automotive camera cleaning systems.

Rising safety concerns and fatality rate throughout the last few years is likely to fuel the demand for higher integration of automotive camera cleaning systems in vehicles to lower road accident risks, which is likely to drive automotive camera cleaning system adoption.

Versions of Ford’s Edge crossover have washer systems to clean forward-looking cameras.
Photo courtesy of dlhBowles

Regulations for backup camera implemented in the U.S. are only for light vehicles, and the same regulations are anticipated to be adopted in Europe by 2021, as already proposed by the EU Commission. This should boost the market for backup cameras and consequently, the market for camera cleaning systems.

The parking camera segment accounts for a major share of the market. Mirror cameras are anticipated to become prominent as automakers integrate more side cameras into various ADAS features such as 360° and blind-spot detection systems. In Europe, night-vision cameras and intersection cameras are expected to expand significantly.

Automotive camera cleaning system market players include Continental AG, Denso Corp., dlhBowles, Ficosa Int’l., Kautex Textron, Magna Electronics, MS Foster & Associates, Panasonic Corp., Seeva Technologies, Shenzhen Mingshang Industrial Co., Valeo, and Google’s Waymo.