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LIDAR industry hits impasse

Discussion in 'Autopilot & Autonomous/FSD' started by diplomat33, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. diplomat33

    diplomat33 Active Member

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    According to this article, LIDAR companies are struggling to find buyers:
    "The technical question is whether to wait 10 or more years for computer vision research to solve the ranging problem or for cheap LIDARs to hit the market. However, since the business mindset is to focus on short-term feasible technologies, the lack of serious buyers is the real problem for the LIDAR industry."
    https://syncedreview.com/2019/09/14/lidar-industry-hits-impasse-was-elon-musk-right-after-all/
     
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  2. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Active Member

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    Not surprising. All Level 3-5 vehicles are prototypes, so that's a pretty limited market. It doesn't seem like LiDAR will ever be cost effective for Level 2 systems. If you can get driver assist systems to work 99% of the time with computer vision there's no reason to use LiDAR.
    It seems to me that LiDAR only becomes useful in Level 3-5 systems where you're trying to eliminate that last 1% of errors.
     
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  3. Eno Deb

    Eno Deb Active Member

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    Yep. I think they, just like much of the rest of the industry, have vastly underestimated the time it will take to get autonomous cars working reliably enough for a mass market. As long as the fundamental software issues aren't solved, there will be no big demand for advanced sensors and other components that are only required for autonomous cars.
     
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  4. diplomat33

    diplomat33 Active Member

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    It also does not help, that according to the article, some of the start ups were not producing good quality LIDAR.
     
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  5. MichaelP90DL

    MichaelP90DL Member

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    Seriously, a lot of very weird stuff happens on streets, in alleys, on highways. I will be literally astounded if Tesla finds a way to handle virtually everything. The consequences for screwing up can be enormous.
     
  6. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    But what about all of the systems that Mobileye was meant to be installing with LIDAR (because redundancy is important)

    Obviously fewer than they would have us believe.
     
  7. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Active Member

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    Same issue. Their plan is to only use LiDAR and RADAR in Level 4 vehicles. They've encountered the same problem that everyone else has, they haven't figured out how to make a Level 4 vehicle.
     
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  8. electronblue

    electronblue Active Member

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    Realistically, who was this industry (or article writer) expecting to be ”there” at this point? I have not heard of anyone other than Audi planning on putting Lidar into production vehicles at any schedule that isn’t years into the future.

    Same, I haven’t heard of anyone other than Audi and Tesla talk about putting Level 3 and above (Level 3 for Audi and Level 5 for Tesla) within the 2018-2020 time period.

    Tesla does not use Lidar and everyone else is working on prototypes and prototype fleets of Level 4 vehicles that are bound to be small in number.

    Audi does ship Lidar in volume for its current Level 2 offering, though, but that doesn’t help more than one supplier I guess. And that’s only because they plan on using the same suite for Level 3. There is much less reason for Lidar on Level 2 if you don’t need ”perfect” collision detection. Other companies are aiming at Level 2 and the PR Level 2+ for the time being so I don’t see many using Lidar for that.
     
  9. electronblue

    electronblue Active Member

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    MobilEye has not set any clear timeline or partner plan on when and how their Level 4 prototypes might be in volume production, similar to everyone else in the industry for whom this is still a reseach project.

    Only companies that have current public timelines or plans for Level 3+ and above are Audi (Level 3 in Germany) and Tesla (Level 5 no geofence). Can anyone think of others?

    Small Level 4 robotaxi fleets are not volume operations and usually part of those research projects. These of course exist in many places, MobilEye in Israel being one, Waymo in the U.S. another and more elsewhere, but small research fleets don’t a market make.
     
  10. electronblue

    electronblue Active Member

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    Some point from the article:
    Complete nonsense. Lidar does not cost 10k anymore, nowhere near for the products relevant here — let alone in volume anyway.
    Probably so, but misleading. The real problem isn’t integrating into those supply chains, it is the supply chains simply don’t exist. Nobody has L4 supply chains because nobody has L4 volume products or plans for them in the near future.
    Again misleading. It is completely true that auto parts manufacturers — just like the timid auto manufacturers — have not embraced the commercializiation of L3/L4 (much discussed on this forum too and rightfully derided by people like @Bladerskb).

    The problem is: this has got nothing to do with not embracing Lidar. In fact almost everyone but Tesla has embraced Lidar for L3/L4 commercialization... the problem is they have not embraced the actual commercialization of L3/L4 products, which would then use those Lidars. No volume products = no parts needed for them in volume.

    The unsolved or research problem with these self-driving projects is not Lidar. It is the self-driving code and networks. As long as that is not a commercial volume product, the hardware parts are not needed.
    Yep, I don’t expect widespread adoption of Lidar for Level 2/2+ cars. As long as the year 2021 plans are just Level 2/2+ cars, why would Lidar be on the list?
    Turns out, this was just clickbait. The article does not analyze the relevance of Elon Musk’s comments at all. But let me: they are not relevant. Companies have not turned their back on Lidar at all as a technology. They just don’t need it until they have volume Level 3 and above products to sell — and that indeed is something which seems to keep getting delayed and delayed... and with it the need for Lidar.

    Now, where Elon has a chance to prove everyone wrong and himself correct, is if Tesla actually delivers on Level 5 no geofence robotaxi feature complete in 2019 and in operation in 2020. That could reset some of the above expectations. But until then, Tesla’s is one more research project amongst many.

    Once autonomous (Level 3 and above) is being shipped in volume, we shall really see what technologies it is using and who was ”right”.
     
  11. voyager

    voyager Member

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    #11 voyager, Sep 17, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
    Regardless of the vehicle autonomy system or principle, I'd say that it is better to ‘reformat’ cars before any autonomous tech goes in.
    1. The less space they require, the more margin there is to evade other road users.
    2. The easier the auto-pilot’s task of overseeing the vehicle and its surroundings, particularly if it's shaped to avoid the dreaded blind spots.
    3. If necessary, the human driver can act as a fail-safe; great outside view will boost involvement as well.

    [​IMG]
     
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