Under the agreement, Sendai Nikon Corporation, a Nikon subsidiary, will manufacture lidar sensors for Velodyne with plans to start mass production in the second half of 2019.
"Mass production of our high-performance lidar sensors is key to advancing Velodyne's immediate plans to expand sales in North America, Europe, and Asia," says Marta Hall, President and CBDO, Velodyne Lidar. "With this partnership, Velodyne affirms its leadership role in designing, producing, and selling lidar for worldwide implementation."
"For years, Velodyne has been perfecting lidar technology to produce thousands of lidar units for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)," says Hall. "It is our goal to produce lidar in the millions of units with manufacturing partners such as Nikon."
The company also plans to leverage Nikon's mass manufacturing capabilities as lidar sales expand within other emerging markets. Its low-cost lidar solutions, says Velodyne, will benefit a range of business segments, including robotics, security, mapping, agriculture, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
"Working with Nikon, an expert in precision manufacturing, is a major step toward lowering the cost of our lidar products," says Hall. "Nikon is notable for expertly mass-producing cameras while retaining high standards of performance and uncompromising quality."
"Together, Velodyne and Nikon will apply the same attention to detail and quality to the mass production of lidar. Lidar sensors will retain the highest standards while at the same time achieving a price that will be more affordable for customers around the world," says Hall.
Nikon invested $25 million in Velodyne last year and now aims to combine Nikon's optical and precision technologies with Velodyne's lidar sensor technology. Since the investment, both companies have been investigating a business alliance that includes collaboration in technology development and manufacturing.
The companies say they will continue to investigate further areas of a wide-ranging and multifaceted business alliance.