US-based technology giant Aeva Technologies Inc, which is into making the next generation of sensing and perception for autonomous vehicles and beyond using FMCW LiDAR technology, has announced to partner Nikon Corp to use Aeva’s three-dimensional mapping sensors for industrial measurement tools, the sensor company’s first foray outside self-driving cars.
Founded by former Apple Inc and Nikon veterans, Aeva has developed a lidar sensor that helps self-driving cars map out the world for hundreds of meters around them.
According to Aeva, it believes the same sensors it develops for cars can be reprogrammed for other markets, including applications where the sensor maps objects at much closer range but with greater precision.
The Nikon deal is the first example in this regard, the company said. Nikon has a division that makes tools used by automakers such as BMW to create high-precision three-dimensional scans of cars during the manufacturing process to check for any defects or quality control problems.
According to the sensor tech company, the scanning machines are large – they look like a large bucket swinging around the vehicle on a robotic arm – and can cost $100,000 or more.
Aeva believes its technology will be smaller and cheaper than existing industrial sensors. “The aim is to enable automakers, and eventually other manufacturers that need to check the accuracy of three-dimensional products, to use more of the measuring tools on the factory line to check for defects in a greater number of places,” Aeva chief executive Soroush Salehian said.
However, the companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal but said Nikon aims to release the first product based on Aeva’s sensor by 2025. “Because the costs are lowered, we can broaden adoption,” Salehian said, adding that “the idea is that any manufacturing line in the future can have these devices to ensure its quality.”