Velodyne Lidar, Inc. has today announced an agreement with Nikon Corporation, under which Sendai Nikon Corporation, a Nikon subsidiary, will manufacture lidar sensors for Velodyne with plans to start mass production in the second half of 2019.
"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," said Marta Hall, President and CBDO, 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 (AVs) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It is our goal to produce lidar in the millions of units with manufacturing partners such as Nikon."
Velodyne says it is the leading supplier of lidar sensors to the automotive industry with more than 250 customers globally.
Beyond AVs and ADAS, Velodyne says it will leverage Nikon's mass manufacturing prowess as lidar sales expand within other emerging markets. Accelerated by its partnership with Nikon, Velodyne's low cost lidar solutions will benefit a range of business segments, including robotics, security, mapping, agriculture, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
"Working with Nikon, an expert in precision manufacturing, is a major step toward lowering the cost of our lidar products. Nikon is notable for expertly mass-producing cameras while retaining high standards of performance and uncompromising quality. Together, Velodyne and Nikon will apply the same attention to detail and quality to the mass production of lidar. 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," said Hall.
Nikon invested USD 25 million 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.
The manufacturing agreement represents the initial phase of the Velodyne/Nikon business alliance. The companies will continue to investigate further areas of a wide-ranging and multifaceted business alliance.