ZF Starts Production of LiDAR Sensors


Source: ZF announcement

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN/HAMBURG, Germany — Hamburg-based Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH has commissioned ZF Friedrichshafen AG to produce its “ibeoNEXT” LiDAR system, including the systems electronic control unit.

The first systems will be delivered to partners and customers worldwide beginning in October, including the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor. ibeoNEXT will feature in Great Wall’s premium SUV model “Wey” which moves to series production from 2022. ZF holds a 40 percent stake in Ibeo.

The ibeoNEXT LiDAR sensor is based on a new type of solid state, photon laser measurement technology. Without moving parts the sensor is more robust and thus less affected by environmental influences and vibrations. By processing many laser pulses in parallel, the sensor can generate a high-resolution 3D model of its environment in real time, with the capability to recognize crash barriers and road markings as well as vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians along with their position and movement.

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The compact, solid-state sensor design of the ibeoNEXT and its control unit were developed by Ibeo in accordance with automotive grade standards. Ibeo has commissioned ZF Friedrichshafen AG to produce both components. The first systems are now being produced in Plouzané near Brest (France) and will be delivered to customers and partners worldwide from October 2020.

“We are convinced that LiDAR systems are a key technology for automated and particularly, autonomous driving, as they provide high-resolution 3D point clouds of their surroundings. And thanks to their laser technology, they function effectively under difficult weather conditions. At ZF, we consistently use LiDAR from Level 4 on in our sensor set to help enhance safety and comfort from Level 2 on,” says Aine Denari, Senior Vice President and General Manager of ZF’s Electronics and Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) Division.

Major order from Great Wall Motor

One of the first customers to use the ibeoNEXT in series production is Great Wall Motor: China’s largest SUV and pick-up manufacturer will be using Ibeo technology for the future series production of its premium “Wey” SUV models. The LiDAR system will be used in series production of the Wey from 2022 and will support Level 3 automated driving with a highway pilot, helping to enable highway driving over greater distances . The system comprises the new ibeoNEXT Solid-State LiDAR, a control unit and perception software developed by Ibeo that recognizes objects and helps enable safe driving in interaction with other systems.

“The LiDAR series contract with Great Wall Motor is one of the largest ever signed worldwide. For Ibeo, the cooperation is an important milestone with which we are further extending our global technological leadership in the field of LiDAR. We are the first supplier in China to use LiDAR sensors to enable Level 3 automated driving in a production vehicle there,” says Dr. Ulrich Lages, CEO of Ibeo.

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