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Chinese-Developed Lidar Sensors to Power Self-Driving Trucks from U.S. Firm Kodiak

Ding Yi / Mar 25, 2021 05:14 PM / Business & Tech

Shanghai-based tech firm Hesai Technology has signed a deal with American autonomous truck startup Kodiak Robotics to incorporate its laser guidance system into the latter’s self-driving rigs.

Automotive lidar uses spinning lasers to scan obstacles around a vehicle as it moves. It bounces laser pulses off surrounding objects and measures the return time of reflected light to calculate distances and shapes.

Under the agreement, Hesai will install its lidar sensors on the wing mirrors of Kodiak trucks to enhance their detection of objects on both sides, the two companies said in a joint statement issued on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, Kodiak, which was founded in 2018 to develop self-driving technology for long-haul trucking and drives autonomous freight between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Houston in the U.S. state of Texas, will also use forward-facing lidar sensors made by U.S.-based Luminar Technologies.

Earlier this month, Shanghai-based automaker SAIC Motor announced plans to install Luminar’s lidar sensors and software next year on its new R brand vehicle line and said it expects to standardize the equipment eventually across all its vehicles in China.

Two camps have formed on the issue of using laser-based lidar for smart vehicles. While Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has publicly snubbed lidar technology as being expensive and unnecessary, some tech giants embrace it, including Huawei, which has said it plans to cut the cost of the lidar system for self-driving cars to as low as $200 a vehicle, compared with a popular lidar product made by industry leader Velodyne, which sells for around $4,000.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Autonomous Truck Startup Plus Picks Nvidia Technology to Power Its New Self-Driving System

 


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