The first prototypes of LiDAR systems have already been installed on the roofs of cars. They are arranged in boxes at various angles so that they can capture all of the surroundings. However, such systems could only reach market maturity when the components are smaller and can be integrated into existing car components, such as headlights. “Currently the entire industry is working in high gear on this, both established companies as well as many start-ups. There are about 100 start-ups around the world that have their own ideas of how LiDAR technology could work in cars in the future,” says Dr. Runkel.
LiDAR itself is not new. The technology is already used in satellites and various military applications. “In these areas, a system could cost several thousand euros,” explains Herbig. “In the automotive industry, we are talking about much higher quantities. In the premium class, such a device could cost even a bit more, but once we approach the mid-size or compact class, then we are talking about the 100-euro range.” Within the Optics department Herbig is responsible for recognizing trends in the market in a timely manner. “This is crucial for us so that we can further develop our solutions according to the needs of our customers. For example, in order to reduce the costs in production, high volumes and a high level of automation are the critical factors that differentiate our-selves from the competition,” he explains.