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LiDar collaboration could ‘up-end’ industrial automation

11 August, 2021

The Nikon Corporation has formed a strategic collaboration with the US sensing and perception start-up Aeva Technologies, to bring a 4D LiDar (light detection and ranging) technology with an “unique” micron-level measurement capability to precision industrial automation and metrology applications. The aim is to develop next-generation industrial sensing systems using Aeva’s “industry-first” 4D LiDar-on-chip technology, first developed for use on autonomous vehicles.

Building on Nikon’s strong position in laser radar technology and industrial precision, the two companies hope to accelerate the adoption of joint products in industrial automation, metrology and manufacturing applications.

“This marks a milestone for Aeva’s expansion strategy beyond autonomous driving applications,” says the company’s co-founder and CEO, Soroush Salehian. “We’re excited to work closely with a leader like Nikon in an established market with massive growth potential as we accelerate our expansion into industrial applications, targeting product release in 2025. By leveraging our common-core LiDar chip architecture that we’ve already developed for automotive applications, we can bring industry-leading costs to volume scale, which we believe has the potential to up-end the growing industrial automation industry.”

“We are delighted with the opportunity to use Aeva's ground-breaking technology to jointly bring to market metrology solutions that provide our industrial customers with unmatched functionality, combining higher accuracy that is scalable, lower cost, more compact and provides superior performance than current solutions,” adds Nikon Metrology CEO, Tadashi Nakayama.

Aeva was founded in 2017 by two former Apple engineers, Salehian and Mina Rezk. Its mission is to bring the next wave of perception technology to broad applications from automated driving to consumer electronics, consumer health, industrial robotics and security.

Aeva’s LiDar-on-a-chip technology could bring micron-level measurements to industrial automation

According to Rezk, who is Aeva’s chief technology officer, the company’s frequency-modulated continuous wave LiDar-on-chip technology “has the capability to provide unparalleled performance through proprietary software on existing hardware. This solution will achieve measurements with micron-level accuracy and will unlock entirely new applications beyond autonomous driving.”

Nikon serves the growing $10bn industrial automation and metrology markets. Its revenues of around $600m include other small businesses in the segment Its customers include BMW, Stellantis and aerospace manufacturers.

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