Lidar is the core component of autonomous driving. The common installation method is to install Lidar on the roof of the car, which also greatly reduces the aesthetics of the streamlined appearance of the car. Nowadays, some companies are ingenious and try to combine lidar and lights, and embed radar into lights.
Japan’s Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd. can be said to be one of the largest automotive lighting companies in the world and enjoys a high reputation in the automotive lighting industry. Recently, Koito participated in the investment in lidar supplier Cepton Technologies as the lead investor, with a total investment of 50 million US dollars (about 350 million yuan). Koito will manufacture and sell Cepton lidars for automotive applications using key components provided by Cepton.
It is reported that Cepton will use the new financing to promote the development and application of lidar in ADAS (advanced driver assistance), autonomous driving and other fast-growing markets such as smart cities/intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and security scenarios. As early as 2018, Koito established a partnership with Cepton to jointly explore new technologies for integrating lidar into vehicle lights. In Koito’s partnership with Cepton, lidar will be installed in the bulbs of the car’s headlights and taillights. Since Cepton’s lidar can work stably in sunlight, it will not be disturbed by light, and the lidar in the front and rear lights can achieve 360° coverage of the environment around the vehicle.
Stability has always been a big challenge for lidars. Cepton has developed a new lidar Micro Motion Technology (MMT) that uses MMT technology to create a rotation-free, frictionless lidar solution that can detect objects within a 300-meter range. MMT technology increases lidar lifetime and reduces power consumption due to friction-free operation.
Pei Jun, founder and CEO of Cepton, said that with the latest round of financing, Cepton is expected to make a real breakthrough in 2020. Koito is not only an investor in Cepton, but also its technology and manufacturing partner, which will help Cepton to further expand the automotive market. After all, Koito occupies 50% of the lighting market share in Japan and 20% in the world.
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