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There are lots of LIDAR startups. And there's Continental, the big European auto parts maker. They bought Advanced Scientific Concepts, which has a good but expensive flash LIDAR. (I saw the prototype on an optical bench 15 years ago.) They showed a prototype on a car in 2017.[1]

There are about 100 companies involved with automotive LIDAR.[2] Making LIDAR units cheaper looks within reach. Arguments are over which technology of several that work will be cheapest. Not whether it can be done. There are the rotating machinery guys. The flash LIDAR guys, divided into the "we can make CMOS do it" and "we can get InGaAs fabbed at reasonable cost" camps. There are the MEMS mirror people. All have working demo units.

But no car maker is prepared to order in quantity. Continental is an auto parts maker - when some auto manufacturer wants to order a few hundred thousand units, they'll crank up a production line and get the price down. There's no demand yet beyond the prototype level. The startups mostly want to get bought out by someone who can manufacture in volume. In the end, it's an auto part.

Once the units get cheaper, they can be better integrated into cars. The top 2cm or so of the windshield can be dedicated to sensors. Additional sensors near the headlights, looking sideways from the fenders, and backwards will complete the circle. The top-mounted rotating thing is a temporary measure until the price comes down.

[1] https://www.continental-automotive.com/en-gl/Landing-Pages/C...

[2] http://www.automotivelidar.com/




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