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[240507] #Zoox #Kodiak #Cepton

By 2024년 05월 07일No Comments

Vueron Newsletter

No. 113


Related Company
Luminar to cut nearly 20% jobs as part of restructuring
Autonomous Driving
Zoox headcount grows as Amazon’s self-driving unit expands testing in Vegas
Autonomous Trucking, LiDAR
Kodiak, Hesai
Silicon Valley self-driving truck startup Kodiak and China Hesai lidar partner up
Autonomous Driving
Uber gets permit to restart testing its self-driving cars in California
Autonomous Driving
Cepton Unveils Proprietary End-to-End Lidar Simulator, StudioViz™

1. Luminar to cut nearly 20% jobs as part of restructuring

  • Luminar Technologies, a producer of lidar sensors for self-driving cars, plans to reduce its workforce by about 20%.
  • The company has operations in the U.S., Germany, Sweden, India, and China, with almost 800 full-time employees as of December last year.
  • As part of its restructuring plan, Luminar intends to sub-lease some of its facilities either partially or entirely, aiming to reduce its global footprint.
  • The restructuring plan is set to be implemented immediately and is expected to lead to an annual reduction in operating costs of $50 million to $65 million by the end of the current year.
  • Luminar recently introduced its latest lidar sensor, Halo, in partnership with Applied Intuition, a software company focused on assisting car manufacturers in testing their assisted-driving systems.
  • Lidar sensors are crucial for self-driving cars and driver-assistance systems as they provide a three-dimensional map of the road, which is essential for achieving full autonomy in vehicles.

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Despite the restructuring, the company’s commitment to innovation is evident through the recent launch of its latest lidar sensor, indicating a continued focus on advancing autonomous driving technology.

2. Zoox headcount grows as Amazon’s self-driving unit expands testing in Vegas

  • Zoox, Amazon’s self-driving vehicle unit, has increased its headcount by approximately 16%, contrasting with other companies exiting the autonomous driving sector amid tight access to capital.
  • Zoox, headquartered in California, has been intensifying its testing efforts for its driverless robotaxi on public roads in Las Vegas since June 16. The autonomous vehicle lacks a steering wheel or pedals and has been undergoing testing with the company’s employees.
  • The company’s headcount has grown from 1,900 to about 2,200 since the beginning of the year, according to Chief Technology Officer Jesse Levinson.
  • While Zoox’s autonomous vehicle is not yet driving on the Vegas strip, it is being tested for its capabilities in handling traffic lights, intersections, and speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, following approval from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Zoox plans to invest in its Vegas facilities by adding warehouse spaces to accommodate its testing and robotaxi fleets.
  • Levinson stated that the company is preparing for a commercial launch, hence the need to increase its workforce. He expects a similar growth rate in headcount throughout the year.
  • This growth contrasts with the struggles faced by the autonomous driving sector, characterized by constrained funding access and an uncertain economy.

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Despite challenges faced by the autonomous driving sector, Zoox’s expansion signals confidence in its technology and business model, backed by Amazon’s resources. Zoox’s investment in facilities indicates a long-term commitment to scaling its operations, potentially positioning the company for future growth in the autonomous vehicle market.

3. Silicon Valley self-driving truck startup Kodiak and China Hesai lidar partner up

  • Kodiak Robotics Inc, a Silicon Valley self-driving truck startup, announced a partnership with Shanghai-based lidar maker Hesai Technology Co Ltd to integrate Chinese lidar into their autonomous trucking system.
  • Lidar sensors are crucial for self-driving vehicles to detect objects around them, and Kodiak plans to use Hesai lidar on each side of the truck, along with one forward-facing Luminar lidar.
  • Kodiak’s CEO, Don Burnette, emphasizes the company’s focus on software development and integration of hardware from suppliers, leveraging a mature ecosystem of services and suppliers.
  • Founded in 2018, Kodiak specializes in long-haul trucking, operating autonomously between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Houston.
  • Hesai Technology has experienced significant revenue growth, with last year’s revenue exceeding $60 million, up over 27% from 2019, signaling momentum in the industry.
  • Hesai faced legal issues in 2019, being sued by U.S. lidar company Velodyne Lidar Inc for patent infringement, but has since settled with Velodyne with a global cross-license deal.
  • Hesai has attracted investment from major players like Robert Bosch GmBH, a significant auto supplier, indicating confidence in the company’s technology and market potential.

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Kodiak’s focus on software highlights the critical role of advanced algorithms and control systems in enabling safe and efficient autonomous driving, complemented by high-quality sensor inputs like lidar.

4. Uber gets permit to restart testing its self-driving cars in California

  • Uber Technologies Inc has been granted permission to resume testing its self-driving vehicles with backup drivers in California, nearly two years after a fatal accident involving one of its autonomous cars in Arizona.
  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued a permit to Uber’s self-driving unit, Uber Advanced Technologies, on Wednesday.
  • Uber stated that it currently does not have immediate plans to conduct autonomous driving tests in the state and will inform regulatory authorities before doing so.
  • Following the fatal accident in Arizona in March 2018, which resulted in the first death involving an autonomous vehicle, Uber has adopted a more cautious approach to testing its self-driving technology.3

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The resumption of testing signals Uber’s continued commitment to developing autonomous driving technology despite setbacks and safety concerns.

5. Cepton Unveils Proprietary End-to-End Lidar Simulator, StudioViz™

  • Cepton, Inc. (Nasdaq: CPTN) unveils its lidar simulation platform, StudioViz™, designed to streamline lidar adoption processes for automotive OEMs and facilitate advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicle (AV) development.
  • Developed in-house, StudioViz aims to expedite the deployment of lidar technology while minimizing implementation costs, offering a tool for both OEMs and research entities.
  • Key functionalities of StudioViz include virtual environment creation, high-fidelity lidar data visualization, placement optimization, sensor fusion assessment, perception solution development, and manufacturing validation and scaling.
  • Christian Nickolaou, Product Owner at Cepton, highlights StudioViz’s role in accelerating testing, development, and deployment of Cepton’s lidar technology, minimizing upfront investments and enabling efficient evaluation of lidar solutions.
  • StudioViz enables accurate simulation of Cepton’s lidar sensors in various placement scenarios, eliminating the need for physical installation and reducing the time and costs associated with hardware integration.
  • The platform also reduces monetary investment in data generation and acquisition for perception solution development, addressing concerns related to data collection and processing.
  • Cepton utilizes StudioViz internally to train, validate, and refine algorithms for its own static and dynamic perception solutions, enhancing perception performance and reliability.
  • Cepton aims to support automotive engineers and researchers worldwide in accelerating innovation in lidar-based ADAS and AV solutions through the launch of StudioViz, offering an Early Access Program for interested customers and partners.

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StudioViz represents a significant advancement in lidar simulation technology, providing a comprehensive platform for testing, validation, and development of lidar-based solutions. The platform addresses critical challenges in lidar adoption, including cost, complexity, and time associated with hardware integration and perception solution development, enabling more efficient and cost-effective deployment.

*Contents above are the opinion of ChatGPT, not an individual nor company


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