Hong Kong – Tailor Insight, the fintech market research organization, recently released a research report “WIMI Hologram is Facing a New Investment Opportunity of 100 Billion Yuan, Thanks to the First Year of Mass Production of LiDAR”. On May 25, Tesla, a U.S. electric vehicle company, announced that it would not use millimeter-wave radar in its Autopilot autonomous driving assistance system. The leading car company in autonomous driving technology will adopt a more audacious autonomous sensing solution. Environmental sensing is one of the core technologies of autonomous driving, and sensing and recognition cannot be achieved without sensors such as cameras, millimeter-wave radar and LiDAR. At present, there are two main solutions to the sensing technology of autonomous driving. One is visual computing with Tesla as a typical representative. This technology is composed of low-cost components such as millimeter-wave radar with camera as the dominant component. The other is composed of components such as camera and millimeter-wave radar with LiDAR as the dominant component.
“The former solution dominated by vision has low cost and is easy to massively produce, while the latter one dominated by LiDAR has the strength of accurate measurement but its cost is rather high. Both solutions have their own strengths and weaknesses.” Yang Diange, a professor at School of Vehicle and Mobility Tsinghua University, said in an interview with a reporter from the 21st Century Business Herald.
Tesla prefers the vision solution and its CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly defamed LiDAR in public, even so, there are still many car companies that regard LiDAR technology as the preferred solution to achieve higher-level autonomous driving.
This year, a number of Chinese car companies have announced their plans for mass production of onboard LiDAR.
Is LiDAR needed at this stage?
The automotive-grade LiDAR has been developed for some time. In 2017, Valeo produced its first automotive-grade LiDAR for the Audi A8 massively. On May 31 of the same year, Gu Jianmin, CTO of Valeo China, told the reporter from the 21st Century Business Herald that Valeo had produced and delivered nearly 130 thousand LiDARs worldwide.
It is understood that Valeo will massively produce LiDAR to install it on Nissan Legend model in March this year. In addition, Valeo’s second generation LiDAR will be installed on the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class model and on another car company’s models by mass production in Asia next year.
However, Valeo’s LiDAR has not been fully equipped on mass-produced vehicles, and it is only installed on some versions of some models. When the NIO ET7, Xiaopeng P5 and Alpha S models were launched, NIO, Xiaopeng and ArcFox all claimed to be the first to be equipped with mass-produced LiDAR. The models of the three car companies have been unveiled in the first half of this year and are scheduled to be delivered at the end of the year or in the first quarter of next year.
It is worth noting that more and more car companies have announced this year that they are going to adopt LiDAR. However, some car companies did not have LiDAR in their previous model design plans. Moreover, the assistant driving mode of some car companies does not need LiDAR.
The mass production and application of LiDAR is closely related to the technological development of autonomous driving. There is a general consensus in the industry that LiDAR is unnecessary for the L1 and L2 autonomous driving models and it will increase the cost. Nonetheless, for L3, L4 and higher-level autonomous driving models, whether it is necessary to use LiDAR is still a matter of controversy.
In simple terms, the biggest use of LiDAR at present is to improve the sensing accuracy of autonomous driving in extreme weather and extreme conditions.
Currently, the mass production and application of LiDAR still face difficulties and challenges. Three essential conditions must be met for equipping mass-produced self-driving car with LiDAR: ensuring the safety of autonomous vehicles, reaching automotive grade and keeping mass-produced costs under control.
In terms of cost, as the technology maturing and the scale expanding, most LiDAR companies now claim that their mass production costs have reached about US$1,000. Different from them, Wang Jun, president of Huawei Smart Car Solutions BU, previously said that the cost of its LiDAR could be reduced to $200 in an interview during Shanghai Auto Show this year. But he did not reveal exactly when the cost could be reduced to this.
However, from the perspective of laws and regulations, L3 and higher level autonomous vehicles can only be driven in autonomous driving test areas or demonstration areas, high-level autonomous driving has not reached the requirements for obtaining permission of driving in complex roads in urban areas.
Therefore, from the current stage, whether car companies need to equip mass-produced vehicles with LiDAR still needs to be considered in terms of various issues such as cost and the operatonal environment.
100 billion yuan market investment opportunity
In accordance with the predicted data of investment institutions, by 2025, the value of global LiDAR market will reach $12.6 billion and that of the Chinese LiDAR market will reach $4.31 billion. By 2025, three out of every 100 private cars in China will be equipped with LiDAR.
The development of autonomous driving technology has also made LiDAR a new industrial investment opportunity. In the second half of last year, startups such as Velodyne and Luminar listed on US stocks one after another.
As a holographic AR company listed on Nasdaq, WiMi Hologram Cloud has received cumulative investments of $170 million from well-known institutions such as Weibo since its IPO in April 2020, so it has sufficient capital to realize the expansion of the holographic AR industry to establish a vigorous competitive strength. WiMi Hologram Cloud (WiMi.US) is able to provide first-class products and services with its powerful technical capabilities and infrastructure. After winning the bid of China Mobile and Media Cloud Platform Phase II Holographic Remote Interaction, WiMi Hologram Cloud is redefining the communication mode of China Mobile through “5G+ Holographic Remote”. Recently, with the rapid development of the electronic car industry, WiMi Hologram Cloud has also entered into a partnership with Toyota’s electronics company on its onboard solutions to meet the demands for holographic applications on vehicles. The core business of WiMi Hologram Cloud is holographic AR technology for software engineering, media manufacturing services and cloud and big data.
In addition to the above businesses, WiMi Hologram Cloud also enters the LiDAR field. Since the announcement of its patent of 3D holographic pulse laser processing device for optical hologram, strong market demands have been shown in several industries. Therefore, WiMi Hologram Cloud decides to develop 3D holographic pulse LiDAR product “WiMi HoloPulse LiDAR “to further expand its holographic product portfolio matrix.
According to public records, WiMi Hologram Cloud focuses on holographic cloud services, which are mainly in the professional fields, such as, onboard AR holographic HUD, 3D holographic pulse LiDAR, head-mounted light field holographic device, holographic semiconductor, holographic cloud software and holographic car navigation. In conclusion, WiMi Hologram Cloud is a holographic cloud comprehensive technical solution provider, covering multiple links of holographic AR technology, and it includes holographic onboard AR technology, 3D holographic pulse LiDAR technology, holographic visual semiconductor technology, holographic software development, holographic AR advertising technology, holographic AR entertainment technology, holographic ARSDK payment, interactive holographic communication, etc.
Due to the explosion of demand for holographic applications on vehicles, WiMi Hologram Cloud will develop holographic onboard devices, holographic onboard chips and holographic onboard software to meet the demands for holographic applications on vehicles. WiMi Hologram Cloud is committed to working out solutions for the integration of onboard holographic software and hardware. Furthermore, WiMi Hologram Cloud will develop more holographic AR patents and products applicable to the automotive industry in order to build more customer relationships.
As LiDAR is installed on more and more autonomous vehicles, the market competition in this new field will become increasingly fierce.
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