Livox Tech is one of the emerging companies in the field of laser radar i.e. LiDAR sensor technology. The 2016 founded Chinese company is backed by leading company such as DJI which provides investment, sales, and channel support. Moreover, Livox Tech has developed innovative opt electric and opt mechanical solution which helps for encouraging the adoption of LiDAR technology for different industries. They have developed Mid-40/Mid-100 LiDARs which are cost-efficient with high performance. In addition, their LiDAR can accurately sense three-dimensional information under numerous conditions which are designed for autonomous driving, robotics, drones, and surveying applications.
Mr. Henry Deng, Head of BD Partnership, shared Livox Tech vision for the future of LiDAR technology and its strategies with M14 Intelligence.
Eva: What is the role and offerings of your company in the automotive LiDAR market? And what problem you are solving for autonomous vehicle development?
Henry Deng: Livox Tech has positioned themselves as much revolutionary and disruptive as possible in order to change the current automotive LiDAR market. One of the biggest obstacles, that Livox Tech has addressed, that all OEMs, Tier-1 and self-driving start-ups are looking for a hundred-dollar solution with a main-stream performance. However, nearly none of the existing LiDAR manufacturers can offer the same. In regards to this, Livox Tech has recently released first 3D LiDAR product, MID-40, priced at $599 USD with superior performance, of which products are usually priced at 5-digit dollars. Moreover, Livox Tech is planning to produce upcoming products such as Horizon & Tele-15. Even though the products are not priced yet, but it would be in the same price range as Mid.
Eva: Among the analog semiconductor contents (Radar, Ultrasonic, Camera, and LiDAR) in the autonomous vehicles - Why LiDAR sensor’s market has high growth potential than others? How are the automotive industry dynamics changing with the advancements in LiDAR technology?
Henry Deng: As a LiDAR Company, Livox Tech sees great potential in this technology, by considering its capability in precision, long detection range and extreme conditions such as night drive. As a result, Livox Tech is arming LiDAR technology with a much lower cost. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other types of sensors are not needed. Currently, self-driving companies and teams under tier-1 or OEMs are working hard on sensors fusion technology and algorithm. And Livox Tech, truly believes that this is not a zero-sum relationship but a win-win situation if all sensors technologies become more mature.
Eva: Could you throw some light on your company's future plans in the development and deployment of LiDAR in autonomous vehicles?
Henry Deng: Livox Tech is working hard to ship out our Horizon and Tele-15 sensors by the end of 2019. Moreover, we are also working on building next-generation automotive-grade factory line which would help Livox Tech to prepare for the market expectation for the upcoming 2-3 years in autonomy.
Eva: LiDAR sensor market has gained a high pace in the automotive industry from the past few years. What according to you are the major enablers of this market?
Henry Deng: Many investments have been made by the investor in self-driving technology start-ups, which help many self-driving companies to grow their businesses. Technology maturity of lidars such as 905 wavelength laser and development of semi-conductor in the supply chain. The natural limits of other sensors such as mono-cameras, stereo cameras, millimeter-wave radar, ultrasonic radar, etc. are helping LiDAR technology to grow. However, the most effective driving factor for the development of LiDAR is a reasonable transit from ADAS to level 3- level 5 vehicles, which signifies a strong market expectation and need for LiDAR technology.
Eva: What are the minimum number of LiDAR sensors required for each level of autonomy from SAE level 2 to SAE level 5?
Henry Deng: Shifting from level 2 to level 5 not only needs the number of sensor and their capabilities, but also a full solution which combines hardware, software, and algorithms, etc. However, different LiDAR technologies will also affect the number of LiDAR sensor that are required to achieve autonomy at the same level. Therefore, it is hard to decide the sensor number.
Eva: How do you differentiate your product from that of your competitors?
Henry Deng: Livox Tech has produced its product at a much lower cost as compared with similar level products from other companies. ($599 for Mid-40, $1499 for Mid-100, as retail price). All mid-series products are mass-produced in Shenzhen and Livox Tech is shipping with an average lead time which is less than 5 days to their global customers in USA, Canada, China, EU, Japan and many more. There are already over 2000 units of mid products being produced to support rigorous internal reliability tests. This is not common in the industry considering other LiDARs are at such a high cost. And Livox Tech believes in its technology which is designed to build for massive industry uses and not only for test development. Furthermore, all the R&D products, sales, and BD strategies are under this core mission and belief.
Eva: Who are your top competitors at the global platform?
Henry Deng: Livox Tech has chosen a different technology path as compared with other LiDAR companies. However, Livox Tech’s high performance and low-cost solution has disrupted the market, and probably other companies are considering Livox as the main competitor in the future. But right now, Livox Tech is focused on its technology upgrade and customer needs, which help to make sure, that the solution we are offering is solving the biggest concerns of the customer about LiDAR. And at the end, Livox has set the goals of leading and growing the market size of LiDAR technology in autonomy. Moreover, Livox Tech wishes to build this future with all LiDAR companies who share the same vision.
About the interviewee
Henry Deng joined Livox Tech, in February 2019 and is currently Head of Business Development Partnership. Henry is responsible for promoting robotics technology & intelligent hardware’s so it can shift the needs of both consumer and industries. Prior to Livox Tech, he is also working as Head of Global Professional Product Line at DJI. Henry Deng has more than 7 years of experience in the field of technology, and he has held a number of the position in marketing.