External sensing technologies play a vital role in enabling autonomous driving functions, stretching all the way from Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), to fully driverless vehicles. Depending on the application, external sensors support vehicles in detecting and identifying obstacles, road boundaries, and drivable paths, as well as in positioning the vehicle relative to known attributes in digital maps. The ADAS market, which can be thought of as a precursor to the market for autonomous vehicles, has been defined by the use of radar and camera sensors. As a number of stakeholders push for higher levels in automotive in the early years of the next decade, several competing vendors have positioned LiDAR as a must-have sensor technology to guarantee robust performance of the core functions listed above.
This report discusses fundamental technologies and solutions, including mechanical, solid state, and flash LiDAR, contrasting their strengths and weaknesses with competing sensor types. This is accompanied by a frank analysis of the unique use cases for LiDAR, and the likelihood of success in reducing the technology’s historic cost disadvantage