Self-drive technology division of Google, Waymo stated that will it sell the same sensors that are part of its self-driven cars to others. This technology had been in the middle of a legal wrangle between Google and Uber with the former accusing Uber of stealing its trade secrets. In its latest official blog post Waymo announced that it was targeting the sales of its Lidar technology to industries like security, agriculture and robotics instead of firms in the field of self-driven vehicles. This technology is regarded by people in the industry as being crucial for the success of autonomous vehicles.
The sensors of Lidar measure distance of objects through a mix of laser lights and pulses that enables generation of 3D maps of world around them. The head of Lidar team Simon Verghese stated that his team has been working on fine-tuning the technology since 2011 and now they have three different types of Lidar based on their functionality. The first one which is ready for offer is called Laser Bear Honeycomb and will be sold only to select partners. This sensor was made for use around the Waymo vehicle bumper and has wide view field.
Mr. Verghese stated that the strategy behind offering Lidar to partners is to spur the growth of its applications out of self-driving cars business and propelling their business forward. Autonomous technology can be scaled up faster by making sensors affordable through economies of scale. After the public fight between Uber and Waymo for the technology Uber was forced to give 0.34 stakes in its division to Waymo that is worth $245 and also agree to not use this technology in its self-driving cars. Details about the cost of this technology have still not been shared by Waymo and it has also not specified about when the other two will be available for sale.