Laser Sensor Takes Back Seat to Radar

The Strategy Analytics Automotive Electronics Service report, “Laser Radar: Could the Forgotten Child be the Future Star?” notes that despite early adoption among Japanese car makers, laser sensor installations lag behind radar installations when it comes to collision avoidance and mitigation systems.

New laser technology from Ibeo has shown that laser systems will operate, even in poor weather conditions, a serious prior concern for laser system manufacturers. Participation in the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) challenges has proven that automotive laser technology can be successfully implemented. Despite this advancement, there is a question about the future of laser-based Ibeo, a relatively new company competing against established, radar-based players. Falling radar sensor prices will further intensify competition. Current Strategy Analytics forecasts for 2013 remain at 4.5 million units of radar sensors compared with only two million laser sensors for distance warning applications, such as adaptive cruise control and collision warning mitigation.

“While Ibeo’s technology looks promising,” says Kevin Mak, Industry Analyst at the Automotive Electronics service, “there is a problem for laser technology in that it is regarded as a low-cost alternative to radar and is mainly targeted at economy cars. Purchasers of economy cars are less likely to buy expensive optional safety features. Furthermore, luxury cars are more likely to include radar-based safety features as a standard offering.”

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