Lidar, Cameras, Action: Not All Cars See the Same

Lidar, Cameras, Action: Not All Cars See the Same

NEW YORK, March 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — People have been dreaming about self-driving cars for nearly as long as cars have been around, arguably even longer when considering da Vinci’s vision back in the 1500s. While the reality of fully autonomous vehicles remains in small pilot trials today, the industry is advancing in leaps and bounds as engineers add features and functionality by marrying leading edge technologies, including lidar, radar and cameras to help a car “see” and “react.” As with any other new tech, the new sensors are getting smaller and more accurate while dropping in price, factors that facilitate scalability for autonomous driving features from only a few high-end vehicle models to mass market vehicles. Leading the charge towards safe self-driving cars is Cepton Inc. (NASDAQ: CPTN) (Profile), a maker of lidar (an acronym for “light detection and ranging”) products that are being incorporated by some of the world’s biggest auto makers, including GM’s vaunted Ultra Cruise program that will allow hands-free driving on more roads in North America than ever before. It appears evident that autonomous vehicles will become mainstream, which has automakers and tech firms alike, including QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), Aptiv PLC (NYSE: APTV), NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), hustling to secure a share in the burgeoning mobility market.

  • Cepton’s patented micro-motion technology lidar products overcome the tetralogy of ADAS challenges: performance, cost, reliability and integration.
  • Cepton lidar system has been selected for use in GM’s Ultra Cruise feature, representing the world’s biggest contract win in the lidar industry for ADAS applications.
  • Cepton has 160-plus projects in motion and is in conversations with each of the top-10 automotive original equipment makers, such as Ford, GM and Toyota.
  • Koito Manufacturing, a top global automotive tier-1 supplier, has made two substantial investments in Cepton since 2020.

Click here to view the custom infographic of the Cepton Inc. editorial.

AVs Hitting the Accelerator

The day of full-on autonomous vehicles goes through advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Unfortunately, hyperbole in social media has resulted in confusion as to the different levels of ADAS and their capabilities. Companies calling their technology “self-driving” or “autopilot” only adds to misunderstanding the difference between Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 0 (person driving full-time) and SAE Level 5 (vehicle driving itself under any condition).

To date, in excess of 80 companies are experimenting with self-driving vehicles, which seems destined to lead to AVs one day cruising on everything from back roads to highways. Interest is expected to come via consumers and companies alike. Research by automaker Nissan shows that 55% of small businesses believe they will operate fully autonomous fleets within two decades.

A major force behind safe autonomous driving is lidar, which uses a small optical sensor and pulses of light to create a continuously updating, three-dimensional map of the surrounding area. Lidar is growing in popularity among automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) because it has qualities that radar and cameras are unable to achieve today. Advancements in lidar represent a significant progression in autonomous driving, subsequently fueling a surge in interest in publicly-traded lidar technology companies.

Cepton Inc. (NASDAQ: CPTN)has made a splash on the scene in recent weeks, going public via special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and showcasing its highly differentiated lidar technology and impressive portfolio of partners. The company sets itself apart from peers with its micro-motion technology (MMT) that has solved many challenges such as expense, performance, reliability, and vehicle integration for the ADAS and the AV markets.

The Silicon Valley-based company offers a robust portfolio of hardware and software lidar solutions, complete with proprietary application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC, a customized integrated circuit chip) and all requisite optoelectronic parts. Cepton’s products consist of Vista X, Vista T, Vista P and Nova. Cepton offers its products at a price that is a fraction of that of its competitors, a fact that further adds to the appeal for car makers.

Part of the genius of MMT(R) lidar is that Cepton didn’t overcomplicate things. The company relies on OSRAM’s 905 nm wavelength lasers, which are affordable, available proven tech that deliver high brightness with low power consumption in a Time of Flight (TOF) lidar system to map the surroundings. MMT reduces risk of parts wearing out because, unlike competitors, the award-winning system doesn’t use any rotating parts or mirrors. Furthermore, Cepton hit a home run by developing the first and only lidar system that can be placed behind the windshield, making it ideal for mass deployment across multiple vehicle models. Add the features up and it shouldn’t be a surprise that automotive OEMs and tier-1 suppliers are wanting to work with Cepton.



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