The run for the most cost-efficient lidar sensor for the automotive market has been running for a few years, with various companies successfully join the market. In fact, a 2018 report from Transparency Market Research reports that the automotive lidar Market is set to surpass US $2 billion by 2026.
In less than two years, German startup Blickfeld has developed a lidar technology that it claims “culminates in the world’s smallest high-performance solid-state lidar.” They call this lidar the “Cube.”
Designed to meet the highest automotive performance requirements, the Cube is a proprietary, patent-protected microelectromechanical system (MEMS) beam-deflection unit that allows precision and scalability in the production process. The company is using commercial off-the-shelf components and silicon to build the product, which means it can be mass-manufactured at low cost, much like a number of other solid-state lidar solutions on the market. It features a field-of-view of 100° x 30°, a detection range above 150m, and scans a maximum of 300,000 data points per second, at a 4 – 25 Hz Frame rate and 0.4° resolution.
Moreover, the device is as small as a smartphone (though a fair bit thicker), with the prototype device specified at a size of 140 x 70 x 70 mm.
“We strive to provide a solution that is highly performant and mechanically robust with high production scalability”, said Blickfeld’s Co-Founder Florian Petit.
In 2017, the team scored its first $4.25M seed round, which was increased to $10M in August 2018 by the original investors Fluxunit, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Tengelmann Ventures, and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners.
Although the company is currently focusing on the automotive industry, Florian Lenz, CFO and Head of HR, said that “with our team, technology, and vision, we are looking forward to enable the future of mobility, robotics, and logistics.”
The Cube is already in its mass-production phase and will be commercially available in 2019.