ON TOPIC: Driving Automotive Innovation

There are few industries where photonics has as much widespread potential as the automotive market. And as autonomy and battery electric vehicles continue to work into the mainstream, the number of opportunities for photonics-based products continue to compound. For instance, each year, automakers continue to embrace more photonics-based offerings to improve vehicle safety including sensors that provide improved driver assist capabilities.

While lasers are proving instrumental on the factory floor as the leading means to production weld battery caps for EVs, the number of photonics-based uses within today’s vehicles also includes a wide array of lighting applications. For instance, interior or exterior illumination, aesthetic lighting, and instrument panels. In newer cars, photonics-based offerings are also enabling the wider use of heads-up displays touted to improve the driver experience and safety.

This report takes a closer look at a few additional examples where photonics could make a meaningful difference within the automotive industry. Most importantly, we look at the role this evolving use of photonics technology is playing in moving automakers closer to the elusive level 4 autonomy. While no one knows what mix of technology will ultimately win the race, LiDAR will most likely be within the mix.

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