Veoneer and Velodyne Enter into Strategic Licensing Deal
Velodyne and Veoneer have entered into an agreement that indicates to industry insiders that one of the major automakers is involved.
From an article in The Drive by Edward Niedermeyer:
Now it seems that Velodyne is getting serious about the assault on its enviable positioning, announcing that it is licensing its technology to the automotive supplier Veoneer for a new automotive-grade 360-degree lidar system. Velodyne may have invented lidar, but Veoneer (a high-tech spinoff of the Swedish supplier giant Autoliv) has a long track record of integrating advanced sensor technology into automotive modules that the OEMs can affordably and reliably integrate into their cars. By partnering with a supplier Velodyne is taking the pragmatic decision to leverage the strengths of established automotive companies in order to turn its invention into a true innovation, demonstrating the convergence between newer and more established players that is likely to define the coming years in the mobility technology space.
It’s possible that Velodyne had to work with a proven supplier, versed in the arts of integrating, packaging, testing and securing new technologies for automotive applications. After all, the press release announcing the partnership notes that “Veoneer will serve as the primary commercial and technical interface to the global automaker for this awarded business.” This suggests that a major automaker wanted to use Velodyne’s sensor technology for an upcoming autonomous vehicle deployment, but that it wanted an automotive supplier to ensure that the final product lives up to the “automotive grade” standard. According to the press release, this includes giving Veoneer responsibility “for the automotive design including implementation of cybersecurity and functional safety features for the lidar system.”
In addition to demonstrating that cooperation between high-tech companies like Velodyne and established auto suppliers like Veoneer is critical to turning inventions into automotive grade innovations, this deal also shows that behind the “trough of disillusionment” autonomous vehicles are steadily progressing toward reality. With so much attention focused on companies pushing the technological envelope, the testing, validation, quality assurance and security automakers require are often treated as an afterthought when they are in fact a central requirement for any deployment plans. In addition to proving that autonomous cars are statistically safe drivers, developers need to prove that their complex robocars can also pass stringent automotive safety integrity levels required to demonstrate functional safety, a regime of meticulous testing, analysis and documentation that more methodical automotive companies have mastered over decades spent managing safety-critical systems at massive scale.
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