Lidar is like the eye of driverless vehicle, and it is the key component to ensure the safety function in the future automatic driving.
On the first day of the opening of CES, Sony, an electronic giant, released a concept electric vehicle, visions. What a surprise: Sony is selling cars, too?
In fact, Sony has already hinted at entering the field of electric vehicles, making use of its research advantages in image sensors to break into the deep water area of lidar and reduce product costs. But lidar has never been a little traveled market.
Sony Benz releases concept car
The latest visions cover Sonys sensor technology and in car entertainment system technology. The huge dashboard and panoramic central control screen display the driving and entertainment information of the vehicle, and the entertainment system can be controlled through gestures.
Sony is famous for making powerful image sensors. Visions has a total of 33 sensors in its body. With these sensors, the vehicle can easily identify the road conditions and obstacles ahead. Sensor technology will play a positive role in assisting driving, such as telling the driver when to apply the brake and when to turn. To some extent, assisted driving is more useful than full-automatic driving.
It was Sonys Declaration of war against the outside world, and people were surprised by the companys determination to subvert itself and innovate itself. The electronic car of the future is peoples new toy. Its so cool, one industry person who attended the conference told the first financial reporter
But the electric car is just a concept car, and Sony has no plans to sell it to the public. We hope to accelerate our contribution to mobile travel in the future. Sony CEO kenchiro Yoshida said at the visions conference.
According to Huang Renxun, CEO of NVIDIA, the transportation and travel industry is a market with ten billion dollar opportunities. At the same time, he said, the safety of autonomous driving also needs the cooperation of ecosystem partners.
On the same day, Mercedes Benz also released visionavtr, a concept car designed in collaboration with the creative team of science fiction film Avatar, which has no steering wheel or engine at all, but is featured by a reptile from Pandora, a wooden floor and transparent doors, and an in car entertainment system controlled by gestures.
Like Sonys visions, visionavtr has 33 sensors, arranged neatly on the back of the car. When all of them are opened, they look like animal scales. These scales can communicate with drivers through subtle and natural attitude changes, drivers can also communicate with the outside world through them, and these elements can also provide energy for vehicles.
Visionavtr uses a new battery technology, which is based on organic chemical cells of graphene, completely free of rare earth and metal. Officials say the battery can be fully charged in 15 minutes, and has a small size, which is more conducive to the layout of the cars interior space.
Automobile chip giants gather
Sony said it was developing a vision sensor chip for autonomous driving to join the lidar competition to take a foothold in the electric vehicle market. Lidar is like the eye of driverless vehicle, and it is the key component to ensure the safety function in the future automatic driving.
But for Sony, the lidar market is a deep water area that has never been touched before. Although Sony said it would sell car image sensors six years ago, little has changed since then. The appearance of the concept electric vehicle on CES also means that the research and development of Sonys automobile image sensor is speeding up.
Although Sonys smartphone sales are not ideal at present, the companys image sensor sales are very good, and it has become the worlds largest camera sensor supplier. In recent years, the demand for smart phone cameras has made Sonys factories spin. The company has announced that it will build a new factory in Nagasaki, Japan, to meet the growing demand. It is understood that the new plant will be put into operation in April 2021. In the current fiscal year, Sonys investment in the chip business has doubled to 280 billion yen.
Sonys profit growth in recent years has mainly come from games and network services, image sensing solutions (semiconductor business) and music services. In the second quarter of 2019, Sonys operating revenue increased by 16.5% to 279 billion yen, mainly driven by the image and sensor solutions business and electronic products and solutions business.
Toshiba and Samsung have launched car level image sensors in the past two years to improve the capabilities of advanced driving assistance systems. Both companies have already delivered their image sensors to car customers.
Qualcomm also introduced a new c-v2x chipset during CES, which will take automakers a step closer to the communications systems needed to deploy fully automated vehicles.
Lidar prices are expected to fall
It is worth noting that Dajiang, a Chinese UAV giant, also officially announced to enter the field of automatic driving at CES. Two new lidar products of livox company of Dajiang, which can be used for L3 and L4 level automatic driving, were officially unveiled.
At present, there are many start-ups in lidar all over the world, such as velodyne, quanergy, luminar, innoviz from abroad, and Hesai technology and Suteng juchuang from China.
Thanks to the cost advantage of Sony chip manufacturing, Sonys automotive lidar products are expected to achieve lower prices. At present, the price of lidar in the market is extremely high. Take a 64 line product of velodyne, the originator of lidar, for example. The price is equivalent to a Tesla Model 3.
With the rise of domestic enterprises such as livox, lidar is expected to achieve large-scale mass production in the future, thus driving the cost down. In fact, the price of lidar has been reduced. According to the price of livoxs official website, its two lidar products, horizon and tele-15, with retail prices of $999 and $1499 respectively, are expected to be available in the second quarter of this year.
The aggressive price strategy of new entrants also challenged the early head players. Velodyne has made internal adjustments due to the sluggish sales in China. It has eliminated the business development department, put small customers to agents, and only retained large customers, such as car companies, as well as Japanese and Korean customer teams and technical support teams.
Weng Wei, executive director of velodyne Asia Pacific, told CFI: small customers have high price sensitivity to lidar and low requirements for product accuracy, so velodyne faces great challenges in the face of price competition from domestic competitors.
However, the time of lidar concentrated eruption is 2021 or later. Weng Wei said that the real lidar purchase order for autonomous vehicles is not the main force, and the main order source of velodyne is the graphic dealer, robot and security industry chain formed around autonomous driving. However, from 2021 to 2025, the main source of orders is self driving taxis. Velodyne launched its velabit product at CES this year, which has been widely used in automatic driving, ADAS, high-precision mapping, security and other industrial fields. In October last year, China smart travel, a Chinese driverless travel enterprise, reached an agreement with velodyne that the two sides will jointly develop the next generation of high-performance energy production radar to accelerate the landing process of Chinas driverless driving. Source: First Financial Editor: Wang Fengzhi, nt2541
However, the time of lidar concentrated eruption is 2021 or later. Weng Wei said that the real lidar purchase order for autonomous vehicles is not the main force, and the main order source of velodyne is the graphic dealer, robot and security industry chain formed around autonomous driving. However, from 2021 to 2025, the main source of orders is self driving taxis.
Velodyne launched its velabit product at CES this year, which has been widely used in automatic driving, ADAS, high-precision mapping, security and other industrial fields. In October last year, China smart travel, a Chinese driverless travel enterprise, reached an agreement with velodyne that the two sides will jointly develop the next generation of high-performance energy production radar to accelerate the landing process of Chinas driverless driving.