In recent years, LiDAR has not only been applied in many fields such as commercial service robots, unmanned driving, AGV/AMR, but also become one of the essential intelligent sensors in the era of “metaverse”.This article will explain the development and application direction of TOF LiDAR from various aspects such as technical characteristics and market pattern.
First of all, what is LiDAR?
LiDAR is a LiDAR system that detects the location, speed and other characteristics of a target by emitting a laser beam. It works by emitting laser beam to the target, and then processing and coding the received signals reflected from the target to obtain relevant information about the target, such as target distance, orientation, and even shape parameters, and furthermore, it can also project the target speed, attitude and other information to achieve the detection, tracking and identification of the target.
Market Development and Status – From Triangulation to TOF LiDAR
Although the development of LiDAR technology has nearly 50 years of history, the early stage was basically monopolized by foreign enterprises, and the price of LiDAR products remained high, making procurement difficult and curbing the rapid development of domestic cars and robots. In order to quickly break through the monopoly, the major domestic LIDAR companies have invested a lot of resources in research and development, from triangulation LiDAR to TOF LiDAR, constantly pushing out new products to help the development of unmanned driving.
In the past 10 years, SLAMTEC Technology, as the leader, participant and witness in the history of LiDAR development.
In 2014, SLAMTEC Technology successfully developed the first domestic low-cost RPLiDAR A1 using the innovative visual triangulation principle, which successfully broke the monopoly of foreign enterprises. In the following years, SLAMTEC Technology continued to innovate, combining the optical-magnetic fusion technology and RPVision high-speed visual ranging engine to launch a number of low-cost and high-performance LiDARs, and achieve stable mass production, among which RPlidar A3, as the thinnest and farthest-ranging triangulation LiDAR, set a number of records in the industry at that time.
With the continuous development of the market, LiDAR use scenes are getting bigger and bigger, the principle limitation of triangulation method LiDAR can’t meet the demand of bigger scenes, while TOF principle LiDAR has natural advantages in long-range detection, full range accuracy, sampling rate, anti-sunlight interference, etc., which is more in line with the demand of big scenes and multi-state applications, attracting the attention of a large number of robot enterprises and intelligent AGV/AMR enterprises It has attracted a large number of robotics enterprises and intelligent AGV/AMR enterprises.
In 2019, the domestic TOF range measurement technology continues to mature, and major manufacturers have launched various TOF products, but it is difficult to produce large quantities of stable and reliable. SLAMTEC Technology also launched the first TOF LiDAR RPlidar S1 at the first time, which has the advantages of 40m ranging radius, outdoor usable, independent closed outer cover, compact size, etc. And it can be shipped in large quantities to ensure product reliability, which is loved by a large number of customers. During the epidemic, RPlidar S1 achieved mass production shipment to help contactless distribution and reduce the pressure on the first line of the epidemic fight.
In 2021, SLAMTEC Technology launched a new low-cost, compact and high-performance TOF lidar, RPlidar S2, based on market feedback and continuous optimization. compared with RPlidar S1, RPlidar S2 is a quasi-industrial grade TOF LiDAR with IP65 protection level, 30m measurement radius, 32000 sampling frequency and 0.12° angular resolution. S2 has more stable and reliable ranging performance when detecting long-distance objects, black and white object switching and strong direct light objects. At the same time, the compact size and excellent angular resolution make it more widely used.
SLAMTEC, as the industry witness of TOF LiDAR, has also achieved recognition and considerable market share from major manufacturers in the world. 80% of TOF LiDARs used in the intelligent robotics market nowadays are originated from SLAMTEC. From the data of recent years, from 2019 to the first half of 2022, the sales volume of SLAMTEC S1 and S2 is on a continuous upward trend, and the total shipment volume exceeds 150,000 units in the last two years, and the overseas shipment volume exceeds 50,000 units, and the total shipment volume has reached the industry leader.
It can be said that, from A1 to S2, through the continuous upgrading and exploration of LiDAR products, SLAMTEC has become the head manufacturer that sells domestic TOF LiDAR all over the world.
Market Demand – Performance Upgrade to Achieve Industry Empowerment
Although the domestic LiDAR industry started later than foreign countries, the LiDAR manufacturers including SLAMTEC have launched several LiDARs after several years of technical research, and the performance is not only comparable to imported LiDARs, but also more advantageous than foreign high-priced LiDARs in terms of price.
Now, with the growing maturity of the metaverse concept and the rapid development of 5G technology, more and more industries want to enter this immersive, durable and decentralized digital world. In the future picture about the metaverse, LiDAR is bound to be a pivotal position, and the application range of LiDAR may go beyond what is imagined today, which also puts forward higher requirements for LiDAR:
1.Range radius: higher range radius can meet the application needs of larger scenes
2.sampling rate and angular resolution: the higher the sampling rate and the smaller the angular resolution can provide the robot with richer environmental point cloud information
3.Scanning frequency: The higher the scanning frequency, the higher the dynamic performance and the faster the identification of environmental information.
4.Accuracy: to ensure the accuracy of the environmental target
5.ease of use: the ease of use of the upper computer to support the user can quickly develop and apply, easy to operate.
6.Stability: stable and reliable long-term operation, no false triggering, timely response and reliable performance.
7.Environmental adaptability: the anti-interference effect of sunlight, dust, rain and vibration in different environments.
8.Price ratio: under the premise of meeting the above performance requirements, price is an important factor, and the most suitable product with high cost performance is pursued.
All along, SLAMTEC has been growing together with customers, no matter how the industry develops, cost-effective LiDAR will enhance our ability to perceive this world, so in the exploration of LiDAR technology, performance and cost compression, SLAMTEC will also continue to innovate and empower the industry with the most advanced technology, the most stable performance and the ultimate cost performance.
Future – Diversified LiDAR application scenarios
In addition to the technical exploration, the application in multiple scenes is also a top priority. As the world’s largest logistics market, China’s industrial economy is creating a new pattern and moving rapidly towards intelligence and green. By promoting the application of emerging technologies and intelligent equipment such as LiDAR, it has become a major trend to improve the automation and wisdom of logistics links such as warehousing, transportation, distribution and delivery. In addition, smart infrastructure and smart cities have also become one of the emerging LiDAR markets, and it can be said that the demand for wisdom is expanding infinitely in different fields.
Shanghai SLAMTEC Technology, as one of the first companies in the world to explore and develop robot autonomous localization and navigation technology, has been focusing on the research and development of LiDAR technology since 2009, from triangulation LiDAR to TOF LiDAR to Jiantu LiDAR, SLAMTEC Technology has achieved breakthroughs one after another. In the exploration of diversified application scenarios, SLAMTEC has never stopped. At present, SLAMTEC has already designed solutions in different scenarios such as AGV scenario, machine room scenario, recreation scenario, intelligent prevention and control scenario, restaurant scenario, hotel scenario and medical scenario, which have been highly recognized by customers.
In the future,SLAMTEC Technology will also continue to deepen the R&D and application of LiDAR, expand its own advantages in R&D, production and manufacturing of LiDAR, improve the overall service and operation and maintenance capabilities, increase industrial investment, continuously break through the technology blockade, and develop and progress with the times and the industry.