SAN JOSE, Calif. — Velodyne Lidar Inc. yesterday announced an agreement with Nikon Corp., under which subsidiary Sendai Nikon Corp. will manufacture lidar sensors for Velodyne, with plans to start mass production in the second half of 2019. Velodyne said the partnership cements its manufacturing plan and will help it expand its lead in the global lidar sensor market.
“Mass production of our high-performance lidar sensors is key to advancing Velodyne’s immediate plans to expand sales in North America, Europe, and Asia,” stated Marta Hall, president and chief business development officer at Velodyne Lidar. “With this partnership, Velodyne affirms its leadership role in designing, producing, and selling lidar for worldwide implementation. For years, Velodyne has been perfecting lidar technology to produce thousands of lidar units for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems. It is our goal to produce lidar in the millions of units with manufacturing partners such as Nikon.”
“Mass production of our high-performance lidar sensors is key to advancing Velodyne’s immediate plans to expand sales in North America, Europe, and Asia.” –Marta Hall, president and CBDO, Velodyne Lidar
Velodyne said it is the leading supplier of lidar sensors to the automotive industry, with more than 250 customers globally.
Beyond autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems, Velodyne plans to use Nikon’s mass manufacturing scale as lidar sales expand within other emerging markets. The company said the partnership will help its low-cost lidar solutions benefit a range of business segments, including robotics, security, mapping, agriculture, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Working with Nikon, an expert in precision manufacturing, is a major step toward lowering the cost of our lidar products,” said Hall. “Lidar sensors will retain the highest standards, while at the same time achieving a price that will be more affordable for customers around the world.”
Nikon invested $25 million (U.S.) in Velodyne last year and now aims to combine Nikon’s optical and precision technologies with Velodyne’s lidar sensor technology. Since the investment, both companies have been investigating a business alliance that includes collaboration in technology development and manufacturing.
This manufacturing agreement represents the initial phase of the Velodyne/Nikon business alliance. The companies said they will continue to investigate further areas of a wide-ranging and multifaceted business alliance.