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Autonomous Driving in the US Possibly by the 2030s-Start-Ups Will Focus on ADAS, Drones & Robots

Bloomberg Businessweek November 23, 2020 pp42 “Lidar Makers Lower Their Sights”. “With full autonomy a long way off, they focus on adding features to ordinary cars.” “THE BOTTOM LINE Lidar makers have been attracting fresh capital as they work with automakers to introduce limited autonomous features. The pivot will potentially be more lucrative for these startups.”


See the article for all the detail and backstory

Data Presented

From 2013 Global lidar venture capital deals have increased from 8 to 30 by 2017 and 22 so far this year with a value of <$100M to a peak of nearly $1.2B in 2019.

Companies Mentioned

Innoviz Technologies-Working as part of a BMW all electric SUV for a 2021 launch. This technology will be level 3 autonomy “meaning drivers can take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road in limited contexts.” They are selling software and sensors “as a better way for carmakers to develop self-driving tech.”

Velodyne Lidar-besides cars this firm is working on using their Lidar systems for drones and industrial robots. These applications are less complex than automobiles which rightly require much more validation of safety . ADAS accounts for 35%, AV 20% and Industrial Robots 20% of projects they hope to realize in their five year plan.

Luminar Technologies-Collaborating with Volvo and Daimler Truck. Plans a reverse merger workthe $3.4B

Ouster­ Lidar-besides cars working on using systems for drones and industrial robots.

Graf Industrial Corp-Did a successful merger of Velodyne

Tesla-Musk “dismisses lidar” instead touting Tesla’s “full self-driving” that costs $10,000 and will be available to select buyers in October. Having said that, reportedly the full self-driving option doesn’t enable full self-driving as “drivers must be prepared to take control of their car and leaves them liable for collisions.”


LIDAR short for Light Detection and Ranging. LIDAR uses pulsed laser to measure range.

ADAS-Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

AV-Autonomous Vehicles

Summary of Article

Reportedly AVs for America are a decade away yet these startups have raised VC based on that promise. These start-ups will incrementally leverage technology to enhance cars for ADAS and on less risky applications like drones and industrial robots. Revenue from these endeavors will help them stay afloat until AVs are closer to reality. According to Sam Abuelsamid (Guidehouse Insights) the “market for lidar sensors in light-duty vehicles could reach $46 billion in sales by 2030, with much of that going to enable partial autonomy.”

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