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Report: Chinese suppliers take lead in automotive lidar

26 Jul 2023

Yole analysts indicate 'big win' for Hesai and Robosense as market begins to take off in passenger cars.

Hesai Technology and RoboSense are set to lead the market for automotive lidar this year, in what Yole Intelligence is calling a “big win” for Chinese players in the sector.

The France-based analyst firm's latest report now predicts that the automotive lidar market will grow from just over $300 million in 2022 to $4.5 billion by 2028 - and points out that market shares are prone to rapid change as the market is still in its early stages.

While the 2022 total was split evenly between deployments in robotaxis and passenger cars (including light commercial vehicles), that will change markedly by 2028, at which point cars and light vehicles are expected to account for nearly 90 per cent of the market.

Yole’s Patrick Boulay said: “In 2022, we are at a crossroads as these two markets generated almost the same revenue: $169 million for passenger cars and $147 million for robotaxis.

“However, growth potential differs for these two markets: a 69 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2022 and 2028 for passenger cars compared to a 25 per cent CAGR for robotaxis in the same period.”

Chinese first rise up the rankings
Until recently, China-based Hesai and RoboSense had benefited most from robotaxi deployments, with Hesai’s sensor technology used in vehicles from Cruise and Aurora, as well as Chinese makers Didi, AutoX, and Baidu.

“These players are opening new services in various cities worldwide, pulling the lidar market for robotaxis far ahead of the lidar market for passenger cars,” Yole pointed out, with Boulay saying that Hesai had a 67 per cent share of the robotaxi market.

“Hesai Technology replaced Velodyne, which previously led this market,” pointed out the analyst.

However Hesai has become increasingly active in passenger car applications, and Yole’s figures suggest that its market share across the entire automotive lidar market rose from 42 per cent in 2021 to 47 per cent in 2022.

Innovusion, which is based in Silicon Valley but with a strong presence in China, ranked second for passenger cars in 2022, with a share of 15 per cent, ahead of France-based vehicle parts giant Valeo at 13 per cent - down from 21 per cent in 2021.

Valeo has been a key player in this segment of the market since 2018, supplying the likes of Audi, Honda, and Mercedes with lidar units.

But Yole says that the market changed dramatically last year after Innovusion, which was relatively unknown until then, shipped more than 56,000 lidars to Chinese electric vehicle specialist Nio.

For 2022 Yole ranked Hesai and RoboSense third and fourth respectively in the passenger car segment, although that is set to change this year thanks to the two firms’ strong domestic links.

“In 2023, Hesai Technology and RoboSense are expected to lead the lidar market for passenger cars, taking the first two places,” predicts the market analyst firm, calling it a “big win” for the Chinese players.

But Yole also points out that Valeo is still a major force, having revealed details of a billion-dollar order for its “Scala 3” lidar units earlier this year.

OEMs shipping
Responding to the report, Hesai said that it had secured eleven OEM customers for advanced driver assistance (ADAS) applications in passenger cars, with six of those OEMs expected to begin shipping by the end of this year.

Hesai’s VP of global sales, Bob in den Bosch, commented in a company release: “Our capacity to produce lidar for both the ADAS and autonomous mobility markets have allowed us to break shipment records and make lidar ready for mass adoption.”

Boulay added: “Hesai is at the forefront in both the passenger car and robotaxi lidar markets. Their success in both markets, combined with their strong financial performance, puts them in a position to lead the automotive lidar market this year, and likely for years to come.”

Hesai, which raised $190 million in an initial public offering (IPO) of stock earlier this year, posted sales of $63 million for the opening quarter of 2023 - a much higher revenue figure than each of its US-headquartered peers. Its second-quarter figures are due to be released in August.

However Hesai is also facing a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Ouster, which acquired Velodyne in February. The US International Trade Commission (USITC) is currently investigating Ouster’s complaint.

CeNing Optics Co LtdJenLab GmbHOptikos Corporation HÜBNER PhotonicsLaCroix Precision OpticsCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.LASEROPTIK GmbH
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