AT128 Hybrid solid-state lidar
INTERVIEW with Wei Zhang, Hesai Technology, VP of APAC Automotive Business
Because car manufacturers do not have standards for Lidar selection, it is difficult to compare performance and identify other key features outside the datasheet, such as 'ghost images' and 'interference'. This is why it is essential to establish global ISO standards for mass production of Lidar for vehicles. Standards of an industry are led by technology leaders in the industry. Based on its strong technology, Hesai is leading the way in establishing Lidar standards. We talked with Wei Zhang, vice president of Hesai Technology, about their advanced products and standardization activities.
written by Han_han@autoelectronics.co.kr
Wei Zhang He Joined Hesai in January, 2022. He is responsible for business development, sales and operation in the field of ADAS and autonomous driving in the APAC region, further consolidating Hesai’s leading role in the global automotive lidar market. Wei has nearly 20 years of domestic and overseas work experience in the automotive electronics industry, covering engineering R&D, project management, marketing and sales. He worked for leading OEMs and Tier-1 manufacturers including Delphi, Aptiv, SAIC, and Pioneer. Wei is well-versed on the topics of autonomous driving, new electrical and electronic architecture products, smart cockpit, and vehicle interconnection, with an in-depth understanding on the marketing trends of both Chinese and international auto markets.
Q. Why is it necessary to establish an ISO standard for LiDAR now and how important is it for improving LiDAR and autonomous driving performance and safety?
A. Lidar is an essential perception sensor for high-level autonomous vehicles. As more and more L2+ ADAS production vehicles enter the market, lidar is expected to start mass production and delivery in the next two years. As an important safety part for smart cars, its standardized application is critical.
At present, the international lidar market has yet not established a uniform test standard. With no uniform standard in lidar selection, automakers could only turn to the datasheet of different lidar companies, making it hard to make comparisons and identify other key features outside-of-datasheet, such as ghost images and interferences. Therefore, the establishment of a global ISO standard is essential for the mass production of automotive lidar.
Q. There are so many LiDAR companies around the world. However, Hesai has always been in the leading position in establishing standards for LiDAR test methods such as UL4700, GB/T, ISO/PWI 13228, etc. Why?
A. We've realized early on that when lidar went into mass production and delivery, a standardized evaluation method was needed in the global lidar market. The lidar standardization will help automakers to better compare and select lidar products, facilitating the industry to test lidar objectively. Therefore, we believe that the effective implementation of standards will empower the industry.
Moreover, industrial standards are generally led by technologically leading companies in the industry. With strong technical strength, Hesai leads to establish lidar standards domestically and internationally. We have developed exceptional R&D capabilities, accumulating deep expertise in optics, mechanics, electronics, and software. Moreover, Hesai is the first lidar company to devote in ASIC technology, proposing the application of Moore's Law in lidar, continuously exploring solutions of higher performance, higher reliability and lower costs.
In addition, Hesai has a wide range of high-quality customers worldwide, including global autonomous driving leaders such as Zoox, Nuro and TuSimple; leading Chinese companies such as Baidu Apollo, Meituan (autonomous delivery vehicle), WeRide and AutoX. In the field of ADAS passenger cars, we won the trust of leading automakers such as Li Auto, JIDU, HiPhi and Lotus. The close cooperation between Hesai and the leading companies also helps us set a higher bar for the industry in China and across the world.
Q. What is a LiDAR performance test method roughly? And how has this developed? What results have each standard, such as UL4700, GB/T, ISO/PWI 13228, produced? What are the differences between these in detail? What is the timeline for these standardization activities?
A. Standards such as UL4700, GB/T, ISO/PWI13228, focus on three most critical points in the mass production of lidar, which are safety, reliability and performance. To be more specific, UL4700 pays more attention to automotive lidar and lidar systems, assessing safety based on manufacturer-specified usage parameters, including assessment requirements for mechanical, electrical, laser, network and functional safety.
The ISO/PWI13228 standard establishes a series of test methods for point cloud performance evaluation, which is applied in the construction of specific test framework. The tests includes general performance indicators (detection range, distance accuracy, angular resolution, field of view, reflectivity and frame rate, etc.), performance indicators that affect operational safety (interference rejection, point cloud density, frame delay, ghost image, etc.), testing of performance changes triggered by environmental factors, and lidar performance combined with ADAS/AD scenarios.
To achieve mass production and delivery, these standards are expected to be finalized and released within the next one to two years.
Q. Did you see Korean staff or members during the standardization activities?
A. We haven’t seen any Korean representative in the ISO working group so far, but we are looking forward to seeing them in the future.
The working group has a number of leading international companies, including Valeo, Denso, Bosch, Sony, Nissan, Renault and ZF.
Q. Do the requirements of this standard reflect various safety standards such as ISO 26262, 21448, 21434? Is Hesai the only lidar player that responded to this? I saw the ISO 26262 certification news for Pandar. Is AT128 separately certified? What efforts have you made to this end?
A. Hesai puts safety and reliability as our top priority. Our product safety design follows a rigorous development process. And so does AT128, which is designed based on a complete safety system. The safety certification of AT128 as well as the third-party assessment, is carried out following the timeline of engineering team.
For lidar of mass-produced vehicles, the safety systems of ISO 26262, 21448, 21434 need to be integrated into product design. We started on ISO 26262 certification first, and launched the world's first lidar product certified for functional safety.
Hesai realized very early that to manufacture a series production lidar product, the process has to cover three safety systems: functional safety, network safety, and SOTIF (Safety of the intended functionality). At present, Hesai has taken the lead in entering the "three-in-one" safety phase. We call on the industry that all parties, including automakers and lidar suppliers, should value lidar product safety more.
AEM_Automotive Electronics Magazine