Tesla’s China rival Xpeng to use lidar sensors from DJI affiliate Livox – TechCrunch

The battle between is heating up Tesla And its Chinese challenger Xpeng as the latter clarifies its stance on the future of autonomous driving. Over the weekend, Xpeng, which counts Xiaomi and Alibaba among its investors, Announced It will be using LIDAR sensors from Livox, a startup that will close ties to Chinese drone giant DJI.

The choice of remote sensing technology LIDAR and a Chinese supplier reflects the complexities of the US – China technology war. Tesla has claimed Xpeng for alleged intellectual property theft, a claim that the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer repeatedly makes Denied. In a turn that surprises some industry experts, Xpeng said It will add LIDAR to its mass-produced autonomous cars in 2021, a strategy that will set it apart from Tesla. After watching Xpeng’s announcement, Elon Musk said that Xpeng lacked Tesla’s technology.

Musk has long ruled out the use of LIDAR in autonomous driving.Expensive sensors which are unnecessary. “Instead, Tesla relies on neural network training and camera-enabled visual recognition for its autonomous vehicles. Some Chinese players agree with Musk’s approach. E.g. Daimler-backed Momenta is Is betting Less expensive millimeter-wave radar and high-definition cameras.

Xpeng already uses multiple sources to collect data: cameras, millimeter-wave radars, ultrasonic, among other sensors. In addition to LIDAR, it states, “will provide a greater level of safety redundancy,” allowing a self-driving car to continue operating even if the primary system component fails, allowing more accurate imaging of road conditions. gives. The company claims that LIDAR will “enhance target detection, measurement accuracy, performance in low ambient light and other challenging perception conditions”.

The choice of Livox Is also complicated. There are mature overseas options such as Velodine and Luminaire, but the Chinese government hopes to select Xpeng for technical autonomy in key industries. In China, Livox faces some strong opponents. Hesai, Supported by Bosch and Chinese search giant Baidu, and Robosense, Which has funding from state-backed carmakers BAIC and SAIC.

Livox itself was founded in 2016 as an “independent company” DJI’s Internal incubation program by startup description. One of its selling points is to lower the price point of LIDAR, which the company claims is possible by its unique Optoelectronic scanning method.

Forest is fitting into autonomous driving as DJI moves towards B2B businesses such as agricultural drones. But Vishal’s relationship with the Lidar startup remains enigmatic, at least from the public point of view. Of livox Company boilerplate It states that “DJI’s deep expertise in sensor innovation and hardware manufacturing is supported” and its products are sold through DJI Official Retail Store. Further, it has not been ascertained whether DJI has any equity or control over its management.

As it turns out, Livox is “just a team within DJI, which was later deployed as a separate company”, enjoying access to DJI resources, including manufacturing and supply chains “from another product brand. Like, “a person with knowledge of the matter told TechCrunch.

One possible purpose of Livox’s intentional removal from DJI is to avoid possible scrutiny from the US government, which sees Lidar as an important area in a technical war with China, the person said. Was dji recently added In the US government business blacklist, which has approved other Chinese tech titans such as Huawei and SenseTime from accessing key components from other suppliers. DJI founder and CEO Frank Wang is also believed to want less public attention.

Livox and DJI could not immediately be reached for comment.