LiDAR Price for Cars
Author： Neuvition, IncRelease time：2022-02-25 07:11:09
At the 2021 Guangzhou Auto Show, Great Wall released the first model of its high-end brand Shalong Auto and officially claimed that this model is the first auto equipped with 4 LiDARs in the world and it is the only one in the world that can achieve full visual coverage of lasers. This model is currently the vehicle with the largest number of LiDARs according to the announced news. Shalong car is priced at 488,000 RMB and was sold out 101 units within three hours. Does that mean this car model with more LiDARs is more competitive? Has the automotive LiDAR price come down?
It’s not LiDAR that Elon Musk hates but the LiDAR’s high price
As for LiDAR, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called LiDAR “a fool’s errand”. Tesla has always insisted on using a pure visual solution for autonomous driving, that is, the method of camera + millimeter-wave radar. This pure visual solution is also easily affected by the weather. So why doesn’t Tesla use LiDAR? The main reason is: the liDAR price is relatively high.
There are several different technical routes for LiDAR, their working principles are different, and they currently are in bloom. It is expected that the LiDAR price will drop significantly within 3 to 5 years, which is an important prerequisite for its large-scale application.
LiDAR is divided into mechanical LiDAR, semi-solid LiDAR, and pure solid-state LiDAR. These three types of LiDARs have their advantages and disadvantages. Due to good reliability, lower cost, and relatively mature technology, semi-solid LiDARs have become the mainstream in the current market. However, in contrast, pure solid-state LiDAR has faster scanning speed, higher accuracy, better controllability, and smaller size. It is generally regarded by the industry as the technical direction of the long-term development of LiDAR, but the technology is not fully mature at present. The design of pure solid-state LiDAR with no moving parts will achieve higher reliability and integration, but the current technology is immature and faces problems such as short-ranging and low resolution. Under the industry trend of pursuing solid-state LiDAR, laser energy density and laser modulation will be a major technical bottleneck.
In addition, many industry insiders ascribed the development bottleneck of LiDAR to price. At present, the mechanical LiDAR price is generally high, and it is mainly used in test vehicles. Velodyne’s 64-line LiDAR price is $80,000, and the 16-line LiDAR price is $4,000. The average price of vehicle-mounted semi-solid LiDAR is about $1,000.
Why is it said that auto models equipped with LiDAR are more competitive? Because LiDAR has numerous advantages over other radars. Vehicle-mounted 3D LiDAR is a mobile 3D laser scanning system, which emits the laser and receives the returned information to describe the surface morphology of the measured object, by taking the advantage of the fast propagation speed and the good linearity of the laser.
Besides, with the advantages of long detection distance, high precision, more feedback data, and more sensitivity to weak light, the combined use of LiDAR and other radars will greatly enhance the perception and accuracy of the vehicle and improve the assisted driving ability of the vehicle. Therefore, LiDAR is considered one of the indispensable eyes for autonomous driving. Furthermore, some industry insiders put forward the statement that “the more LiDARs, the stronger the assisted driving ability”.
The reduction of LiDAR price is a prerequisite for LiDAR scale development
LiDAR is expensive because it contains a series of high-quality optical components inside, and these components must be installed in a rotatable space, so the technical requirements are very high. In addition, the terminal demand is small, the front-end manufacturers are few, therefore, LiDAR price is high. However, with the technology development, bulky and expensive components are integrated into one or two chips, making it possible to mass-produce LiDARs and to reduce costs. The LiDAR company Velodyne has also predicted that the future goal is to set the LiDAR price at $500. and LiDAR company Luminar says it has reduced the cost of a LiDAR system to $1,000.
At present, more and more carmakers have recognized the technical route of LiDAR as a sensor on cars. The configuration of LiDAR on vehicles can be used as a major selling point for the cars, which is more conducive to car companies to attract consumers. From this perspective, carmakers will gradually consider the LiDAR to be installed on the cars under a comprehensive consideration. One of the reasons why carmakers or autonomous driving companies choose to cooperate with semi-solid LiDAR technology companies is that it is cheaper and more likely to achieve mass production.
At present, the cost of mass-produced 3 to 4 LiDAR systems installed on cars on the market is about 10,000 yuan. In China, at the end of 2020, Huawei released 96-line automotive-grade LiDARs and solutions, controlled the LiDAR price at $200, and promised to make the price within $100 in the next two years. Hesai Technology said that the reason why the company promotes the chip development of LiDAR is to reduce its comprehensive cost. The biggest benefit of chipization is cost reduction because LiDAR price is one of the biggest factors influencing LiDAR’s entry into mass production and other application markets. In China, in addition to Huawei and Hesai, some famous Chinese LiDAR companies such as Neuvition, Robosense, and DJI, are also core players on this track. With the increase of suppliers, the continuous growth of the car market capacity, the accelerated commercialization of autonomous driving, the LiDAR price will continue to decrease. As a result, more car models will be equipped with LiDAR.
Carmakers scramble to install LiDAR on cars
A wave of car models with LiDAR is already on the road.
At present, the only car model with LiDAR that has been delivered is the Xpeng P5. It is reported that the model is equipped with 2 LiDARs, covering a 150° frontal horizontal field of view, and the longest detection distance is 150m. With the help of LiDAR, Xiaopeng P5 can quickly identify and respond to various objects. The price of Xiaopeng P5 with LiDAR is only 205,300 yuan. It is no wonder that it has been preferred by consumers.
Huawei’s 96-line automotive-grade LiDAR is installed on the Huawei HI version of the Arcfox Alpha S EV, which will be delivered soon.
In early 2021, NIO released its first sedan, the ET7, which is equipped with 11 high-definition cameras, 1 LiDAR, 5 millimeter-wave radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Among them, the LiDAR can detect a distance of 500 meters. The ET7 will be delivered in March of 2022.
The first sedan M7 released by WM Motor in October last year was equipped with three autonomous zoom high-precision super-vision solid-state LiDARs, with a horizontal detection range of up to 330°, and seven 8-megapixel high-definition cameras, which can build the surrounding environment in real time.
In addition, Immotors L7, Xiaopeng G9, Hozonauto S, and other models equipped with LiDAR will also be launched and delivered in 2022.
Conclusion: as one of the main sensors for autonomous driving, LiDAR has many advantages that make it a sought-after object by carmakers. Relevant agencies predict that the demand for LiDAR in the global passenger car market will increase from 220,000 in 2021 to 21.34 million in 2025, and the penetration rate will increase from 0.2% in 2021 to 14% in 2025, and the market scale will reach 54.1 billion yuan. In 2022, as OEMs such as Great Wall, GAC, NIO, Li Auto, and XPeng actively deploy autonomous driving solutions with LiDAR as the main sensor, the mass production of LiDAR may be accelerated.
LiDAR price is one of the main factors restricting the large-scale use of LiDAR on cars, and the core reason for the high price of LiDAR is that the shipment volume cannot be released, resulting in the inability to effectively allocate its early R&D costs and other investments. In 2021, many OEMs have chosen LiDAR as the main sensor for mass-produced automotive products. In the future, more OEMs will incorporate LiDAR into their product sensing solutions, which will bring a positive cycle to the LiDAR industry, and then open up a broader market.
Although there are already mass-produced products equipped with LiDARs, their actual application has not been fully demonstrated. In high-level autonomous driving scenarios, LiDAR applications have yet to be tested. It is suggested that when carmakers choose autonomous driving sensors, they can use LiDAR as one of the combinations, and through the fusion of multiple types of sensors, to comprehensively ensure product safety and reduce the frequency of accidents.