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A photo taken on May 28, 2020 shows a safety driver sitting behind the wheel of a Rideflux 'self-driving' car in Jeju. - In a workshop that blends a corporate office with a tool-packed garage, South Korean company Rideflux are looking to take on the multi-billion-dollar giants of Uber, Tesla and Google parent Alphabet with a self-driving car of their own. Their modified Hyundai Ioniq, festooned with cameras and proximity sensors, is the first autonomous vehicle to go into regular service on public roads in the country. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / TO GO WITH:  SKorea-automobile-transport-technology, FOCUS by Kang Jin-kyu (AFP)
A photo taken on May 28, 2020 shows a safety driver sitting behind the wheel of a Rideflux 'self-driving' car in Jeju. - In a workshop that blends a corporate office with a tool-packed garage, South Korean company Rideflux are looking to take on the multi-billion-dollar giants of Uber, Tesla and Google parent Alphabet with a self-driving car of their own. Their modified Hyundai Ioniq, festooned with cameras and proximity sensors, is the first autonomous vehicle to go into regular service on public roads in the country. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / TO GO WITH: SKorea-automobile-transport-technology, FOCUS by Kang Jin-kyu (AFP)

Lidar technology firm Velodyne to price new self-driving car sensor below $500

  • Lidar is a sensor that generates a three-dimensional map of the road ahead and is a key component in self-driving cars.

Velodyne Lidar Inc said on Friday it would introduce a new lidar unit, a key sensor in self-driving cars, with a target price point of less than $500 and no moving parts.

Velodyne became a public company in September and is one of several companies vying to supply automakers with lidar, a sensor that generates a three-dimensional map of the road ahead. Velodyne was an early entrant into the market, and its units have powered research operations for many automakers.

Some of those early research units were bulky, contained many moving parts and cost well above $10,000. For mass production in passenger vehicles, automakers and their major suppliers seek units that are sleek enough to fit into attractive car designs and cost well below $1,000.

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The autonomous vehicle technology company said the Velarray H800 will have a target price of less than $500. In an interview with Reuters, Velodyne Chief Executive Anand Gopalan said the company is working with contract manufacturing partner Fabrinet to assemble test devices and that mass production will happen at a Fabrinet factory in Thailand.

Velodyne expects automotive-grade mass manufacturing to be under way by the second half of 2021 and that the devices could show up in vehicles in 2022 or 2023, Gopalan told Reuters.

"We have clear line of sight into being able to hit those costs today," he said of the sub-$500 price point.

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The company said the unit will have no moving parts - known as "solid state" in the industry - and will be small enough to fit behind the windshield of a car. It said the sensor can be used for self-driving vehicles or existing driver-assistance features such as emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

Velodyne is among a trio of lidar technology developers coming to public markets. Silicon Valley firm Aeva Inc aims to go public by merging with blank-check acquisition company InterPrivate Acquisition Corp, and Luminar Technologies Inc is working through a similar transaction with Gores Metropoulos Inc.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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