The main use case for lidar will remain the automotive sector as these sensors will be integrated into future electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving cars.
However, according to new data from ABI Research, the installed base of lidar sensors will reach 16 million by 2030 as these sensors find their way into smart cities, security and industrial verticals. This is compared to the automotive sector where 13 million lidar sensors are forecast to be installed in vehicles by the same time.
ABI said the internet of things (IoT) market will reach mass-market maturity faster than automotive, yielding value before the middle of this decade. The growth will be due to the IoT markets having less concentrated ecosystems but a larger addressable market with a potential of customers and buyers.
"With the autonomous car market now not expected to take off until well into the second half of this decade, lidar suppliers are actively exploring many new use cases across various non-automotive verticals such as smart cities, security, and industrial automation,” said Dominique Bonte, vice president of end markets and verticals at ABI Research. “These markets are primed to leverage lidar’s inherent advantages of robustness in outdoor environments, reliability, range, and 3D resolution compared with other sensors such as camera, radar and infrared sensors.”
Specifically in smart cities, lidar will be used in several different ways including vehicle traffic and pedestrian safety monitoring, people counting, flow monitoring and management at airports and retail locations as well as occupancy detection.
In the security sector, lidar can be deployed for use in indoor/outdoor surveillance and public safety, border control, intruder detection, access control and perimeter defense. The largest security market for lidar will be in data centers, energy generation and distribution, water and utilities, nuclear facilities and oil and gas.
In the industrial sector, lidar will be used for automating forklifts, pallet stackers, towers and tuggers. Lidar will help to resolve labor shortages and provide productivity gain and will play an important role in sensor fusion, mapping and path planning in field environments such as mines, industrial plants, ports and farmland.
"LiDAR technology and its supplier ecosystem will continue to evolve in two important respects,” Bonte said. “First, the shift from mechanical to solid-state LiDAR sensor technology will drive lower price levels, ultimately dropping below $500, higher manufacturing scalability and lower maintenance levels due to reduced tear and wear. Second, the LiDAR supplier ecosystem, currently consisting of more than 100 players, will mature and consolidate to between 10 and 20 key players by 2030.”