Valeo making autonomous mobility a reality with new generation LiDAR

Jon Hall

11th March 2022

Valeo SCALA - scanning LiDAR for cars

World-leading ADAS manufacturer Valeo has announced that its third-generation scanning LiDAR will hit the market in 2024

Offering significantly enhanced performance, the new technology will make autonomous mobility a reality, providing previously unseen levels of road safety.

“Valeo’s third-generation LiDAR is a major technological advance toward the autonomous vehicle,” said Geoffrey Bouquot, Senior Vice-President, R&D and Strategy at Valeo.

“This upgrade strengthens Valeo’s technological and industrial leadership in the field when it was already the only supplier on the market currently series-producing an automotive-grade LiDAR scanner. Our number one goal with this device remains the same – to save lives on the road.”

Unique perception capabilities

Valeo Gen 3 SCALA point cloud
A point cloud generated by a third-generation SCALA LiDAR

Delivering unrivalled range, resolution and frame rate performance, the third-gen LiDAR reconstructs a 3D real-time image of a vehicle’s surroundings at a rate of 4.5 million pixels and 25 frames per second. That’s a 12-fold increase on the gen two resolution, with range and viewing angle increasing three-fold and 2.5-fold respectively.

With these unique perception capabilities, this new LiDAR can see things that humans, cameras and radars cannot. Therefore, driving can be delegated to the vehicle in many situations (L2+ automation), including at speeds of up to 80mph. A vehicle fitted with the third-gen scanning LiDAR can even manage emergencies autonomously.

The scanning LiDAR detects, recognises and classifies all objects located around the vehicle, measuring their speed and direction if they are in motion. Able to adapt to all light conditions, it even measures the density of raindrops to calculate the right braking distance. Nearby vehicles are tracked even when they are no longer in the driver’s line of sight and the LiDAR uses algorithms to anticipate their trajectories, triggering any required safety manoeuvres.

Thanks to these features the Valeo LiDAR not only protects people inside the car but also pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. Beyond the vehicle in which is it installed, this LiDAR will alert, other vehicles of road hazards via the Cloud, so that the community benefits from its exceptional perception capabilities.

The LiDAR boom

Valeo SCALA LiDAR sensors -  third generation
Valeo SCALA third-generation LiDAR sensors

Valeo designs and manufactures the entire system, including the hardware, software and associated artificial intelligence – the ‘brain’ that combines collected data and enables the vehicle to instantly make the right decision. Its software automatically adapts to the environment and improves its performance over time through regular updates.

Valeo’s LiDAR sensors are produced in Germany at the Wemding plant in Bavaria, where components are assembled with a micron level of precision. The plant’s production lines draw on their expertise in optics, mechanics and photonics. 300 engineers are dedicated to this technology, for which over 500 patents have already been filed.

The first, and currently only, company producing a scanning LiDAR on an industrial scale, Valeo has built over 150,000 units and 99% of cars worldwide that are equipped with a scanning LiDAR scanner are equipped with a Valeo scanning LiDAR.

With up to 30% of premium new vehicles set to reach L3 by 2030, all with the need to be equipped with LiDAR technology, the demand for LiDAR is growing at a rapid rate. The is demand is also evident with autonomous shuttles, robotaxis, delivery droids, autonomous trucks, agriculture, mining and infrastructure, meaning that soon LiDAR will be ubiquitous.

The LiDAR market is expected to generate $2.3 billion by 2030 and Valeo’s new third-generation LiDAR will be a key contributor to this change in scale.

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