As the race to fully autonomous vehicles (“AVs”) heats up, one particularly important pocket of the AV and advanced driver assistance systems (“ADAS”) markets is gaining momentum right along with it: LiDAR. LiDAR (short for “light detection and ranging”), developed for space applications and hyped for its potential in automotive applications, is moving beyond speculation and into revenue-generating reality. Investors are on board, with six LiDAR companies coming to market via special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) since 2020, raising over $3.6 billion in the process, and another, Cepton, Inc., is dialed-in to go public on or about February 10th through a merger with the Growth Capital Acquisition (NASDAQ: GCAC) SPAC.
From a press release in Investor Wire.
LiDAR technology uses infrared laser beams to generate a three-dimensional map of the road and surrounding environment, serving, in a manner of speaking, as the eyes of an AV or ADAS. LiDAR is remarkably adept at detecting objects and measuring their distance from a vehicle with incredible precision and speed, even in bad weather and low light conditions. It cannot, however, tell the difference in colors or a rock from a human, which makes it an ideal candidate to work in adjunct with technology such as high-definition cameras, which can provide details on objects.
While viewed by many as the future of AVs, LiDAR has faced numerous challenges, including high cost along with integration issues that are commonplace during introduction of any disruptive technology. Cepton was purposely assembled in 2016, developing and patenting its Micro Motion Technology (MMT(R)) LiDAR platform as a new, reliable, scalable, and cost-effective solutions that deliver long-range, high-resolution 3D perception for a range of markets (auto, smart cities, industrial, etc.), with the initial thrust on ADAS, the most robust market today.
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