The solid-state LiDAR sensor manufacturer Quanergy has now opened its first facility to mass produce solid-state LiDAR sensors for the automotive industry (amongst others).
The new production factory makes Quanergy the first in the LiDAR sector to begin manufacturing cost-effective LiDAR sensors in volume — by the accounting of Quanergy at any rate (it’s seemingly true, to be fair here).
The new manufacturing plant — which is sited in Sunnyvale, California — was actually officially opened (a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place) back at the beginning of October, as some people reading this may remember, but the facility is now open in a more real way (is producing the product).
The new facility features a high-capacity, fully automated production line in a clean room environment — one featuring “state-of-the-art semiconductor handling and packaging equipment, including high-precision photonic IC processing tools and a conveyor system connecting the machinery that turns a silicon wafer cassette into finished LiDAR sensors.”
It also features calibration and final testing facilities — meaning that Quanergy can effectively oversee the whole production process, from start to finish, in one plant. Also notable here is that the facility features unused room that can be used for production capacity increases if the market demand is there in the future.
“This manufacturing facility represents our most significant milestone to date in realizing Quanergy’s goal to bring capable, reliable, and affordable electronically-steered solid state LiDAR sensors to mass market,” explained Dr Louay Eldada, the founder and CEO of Quanergy. “We fully expect that these sensors will play an integral role in bringing self-driving vehicles to the road, as the unparalleled solid state reliability and silicon CMOS cost make them only viable sensors for the production of Level 4 and Level 5 (highly and fully automated) passenger vehicles, and will also contribute to groundbreaking applications in industrial automation and security.”
The press release provides a bit more background: “The patented S3 is the world’s only affordable solid state LiDAR sensor, designed to provide the highest level of performance, reliability, durability and dependability required in safety-critical applications such as autonomous vehicles. Its compact configuration allows the sensor to be concealed within the body of a vehicle or machine without compromising its design aesthetics or aerodynamics.”
As it stands, the S3 varies in sale price between a few hundred dollars and maybe double that, but Quanergy is now estimating that sensor costs will fall under $100 a unit before too long. The new facility’s opening of course plays a part in that.
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