As an important sensor integrating laser, GPS global positioning and inertial measurement devices, lidar has a wide range of applications, including robots, UAVs, 3D printing, VR / AR and so on. In the middle, the relationship between lidar and automatic driving is undoubtedly closer. Because it is not only the “eye” of automatic driving and a recognized basic technology, but also the key to realize L4 and L5 of automatic driving. Based on this, in recent years, with the rapid development of automatic driving, the on-board lidar market has also ushered in an outbreak. China’s relevant enterprises are facing a wave of new opportunities, challenges and choices.

What new opportunities and challenges are Chinese enterprises facing with the emerging opportunities of vehicle lidar industry

Industrial opportunities continue to emerge

As we all know, at present, automatic driving is a focus of global competition, and the development of automatic driving is inseparable from the support of many key technologies, such as chip, high-precision map, algorithm, simulation, sensor and so on. In the intelligent vehicle innovation and development strategy released by China in February this year, the importance of sensors for automatic driving was emphasized. In the definition of intelligent vehicle, “equipped with advanced sensors” is regarded as an important label.

Based on this, as one of the three key sensors of autopilot, the importance of lidar for autopilot is self-evident. Relevant experts believe that lidar has strong spatial three-dimensional resolution, which can not only determine whether unmanned vehicles can go well and how far they can go, but also play an unparalleled value in future technology upgrading and commercial landing. Lidar will be the basis for the realization of full automatic driving.

The relationship between the two is so close that the development of the two is naturally completely connected. With the continuous development, since 2020, China’s automatic driving has entered the fast lane, which undoubtedly brings explosive opportunities to lidar. Affected by the epidemic this year, first of all, various unmanned vehicles have the opportunity to show their strength, which has driven the strong support of relevant policies and enterprises and pressed the start button for a new round of take-off of the whole automatic driving industry chain.

After that, the release of the intelligent vehicle innovation and development strategy in February, the proposal of the new infrastructure concept in March, and the inclusion of intelligent transportation infrastructure in the new infrastructure category by the national development and Reform Commission in April successively pushed the speed-up development of automatic driving to a climax. In this context, Didi has set up a new automatic driving company in Beijing recently. Xiaoma Zhixing has obtained a new road test license, and Baidu test base has been opened as scheduled, with good news for development.

At the same time, during this period, China’s vehicle lidar also ushered in synchronous growth. According to relevant data, by 2021, the market scale of China’s on-board lidar will exceed 600 million yuan, with an average annual growth rate of more than 50%. In other words, with the increasing popularity of automatic driving, China’s lidar is also ushering in the opportunity of potential realization. In the future, the development of vehicle borne lidar in China may enter a new round of outbreak.

How to develop Chinese Enterprises

However, although the development of automatic driving has brought a new wave of opportunities for lidar, it is not easy for Chinese enterprises to seize it. Because in terms of the current vehicle lidar market, due to the backward technology, lack of talents and lack of experience of Chinese enterprises, most of them are still occupied by foreign enterprises. For example, velodyne company in the United States accounts for about 80%, which means that China can get very little of the huge cake.

Combined with the experience of local enterprises represented by Huawei, which is currently sanctioned by the United States, all remind us of the importance of localization development of lidar. In this context, China’s relevant enterprises need to accelerate technological innovation, brand rise and domestic substitution of products. On the one hand, they need to seize the market dividends brought by the development of more automatic driving; On the other hand, we should also take precautions to prevent the development of lidar from being controlled by others.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. So what should Chinese enterprises do?

First of all, we must solve some long-standing problems in this field, especially in technology and talents. Due to the lack of technology, domestic lidar is inferior to others in cost, service life and effect, and the lack of talents leads to the lack of foundation for tackling key technical problems. In this case, Chinese enterprises should not only adhere to investing funds in technology R & D and innovation, but also strengthen cooperation with political research and other institutions to jointly cultivate high-quality professionals.

Secondly, grasping the development trend of the industry is also an urgent task for Chinese enterprises. Chinese enterprises can not make up for the front and fall behind the present. For the localization process, grasping the future trend is even more important than making up for the short, because it can become a key to catch up and surpass. At present, the trend of lidar is undoubtedly high-performance, low-cost, chip and solid-state. Based on this, the development of Chinese enterprises still needs to move forward in these four aspects.

Responsible editor: GT

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