Magneti Marelli has acquired a stake in LeddarTech Inc., a worldwide leader in solid state LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensing technology. Magneti Marelli and LeddarTech also have entered into a technical and commercial cooperation agreement to jointly develop complete LiDAR systems aimed at autonomous driving applications and destined for integration in automotive lighting products for OEMs worldwide.
LiDAR is a sensor technology based on laser light that – in combination with cameras and radar – will enable autonomous driving levels 2 through 5 (from partial to full driving automation, as defined by SAE International’s standard).
“Our know-how in high-end lighting technologies paves the way to new applications aimed at autonomous driving systems, which will be crucial in the future of automotive,” said Pietro Gorlier, CEO of Magneti Marelli. “The investment in LeddarTech, with its proven and proprietary competence in solid-state LiDAR sensors, provides Magneti Marelli with the opportunity to partner with a technology leader with key expertise in this strategically important sector.”
Autonomous driving requires a range of sensors to provide information that enables the car to understand and navigate the environment. LiDAR technology is particularly suitable due to its advanced features, including precise object localization and multiple objects detection even if they are moving, or in difficult lighting and weather conditions.
Founded in 2007 in Quebec City, LeddarTech is a business focused on optical detection and ranging technology. Thanks to its unique approach in remote object detection, the company has gained a leadership position in LiDAR.
In particular, LeddarTech develops solid-state LiDAR systems, which provide reliable, high-performing and cost-effective sensors, according to Magneti Marelli. LeddarTech uses patented signal acquisition and processing techniques that are used to generate cleaner return signals with better range and sensitivity over other solid-state LiDAR solutions.
Magneti Marelli has already started to exploit its electronics and lighting know-how, coupling them in the perspective of autonomous driving technology. The first development is the “Smart Corner” solution, already exhibited at CES Las Vegas 2017, which uses the areas of the car traditionally reserved for lighting systems – i.e. the corners – to bring together the various sensors useful for autonomous driving into one unit. Integrated into the advanced projector headlamps and tail lamps are solid state LiDAR, cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors to create a modular, self-contained, efficient solution to package and locate the many sensors required to support autonomous capability.