The global lidar market is set to grow from its current market value of more than $1 billion to over $10 billion by 2025, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.
There has been a rise in the demand for 3D imaging solutions owing to the increasing development of smart city projects and its expanding civil engineering and manufacturing applications. The existing traditional 3D imaging technologies, such as radar, cannot detect small objects, preventing its usage in high-precision applications. Lidar technology uses shorter wavelengths that allow it to detect miniscule objects with a high degree of accuracy while developing an exact 3D model of the object. This characteristic has opened a new paradigm of possibilities to solve complex tasks, specifically in factory automation, robotics, and manufacturing sectors, encouraging companies to use lidar solutions due to their ability to solve various complex problems while simultaneously developing high-precision 3D models.
Lidar solutions are increasingly used in UAVs to produce high-resolution digital surfaces and elevation models for numerous business applications. Historically, enterprises used a bespoke component for every application. With the advent of lidar technology, companies are using lidar devices mounted on UAVs, which serve as a multifunctional 3D mapping system. This further reduces the overall size and production cost of manufacturing the entire UAV system, making lidar a viable and affordable alternative for use on UAVs.
The bathymetric lidar market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 30% over the forecast timeline. The changing climatic conditions in coastal areas, rising sea levels, and the increasing severity of extreme natural events have renewed the focus on better understanding of coastlines. Bathymetric measurement systems survey near-shore land and sea surface areas to help identify potential risks in coastal regions, providing a cost-effective and efficient technology solution for simultaneously capturing both land and sea data to develop a detailed elevation model along coastlines. The technological advance in the bathymetric lidar market landscape is also augmenting its adoption. Aircraft are using multiple sensors, which are designed to provide an integrated 360-degree view over large areas, faster throughput, enhanced reflection calibration between flight lines, and enhanced point density. The advances in cloud computing and big data processing have driving its usage in long duration surveying and mapping applications.
The mechanical lidar market is anticipated to register a growth rate of over 32% during the forecast timeline. This is attributed to the widespread demand for mechanical lidar devices in driverless cars. The companies operating in the automotive sector are exploring new ways to drive the price of manufacturing mechanical lidar systems. Solid-state technology is yet to be commercialized and is still in the development phase. A large number of R&D activities is expected to drive the innovations in the solid-state lidar market.
U.S. lidar Market Revenue, By Product, 2018 & 2025
The environmental lidar market is expected to register a growth rate of over 32% during the projected time period. Lidar technology provides real-time data for numerous geoscience applications to develop accurate, high-resolution maps and 3D models. The technology has been used to study the ecosystem of various wildlife species including different types of birds, insects, and animals. It is used to measure the vertical density of forest canopy to monitor forest fires and identify certain forest areas that enhance the productivity of wood quality. Lidar technology helps plan and manage a forest while increasing environmental quality.
The European lidar market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 20% over the projected time period due to the increasing use of advanced lidar solutions on various engineering projects at a large scale. Another factor that has acted as a catalyst in the usage of lidar solutions is the rising use of UAVs for various recreational and commercial purposes. There has been an upsurge in the number of supportive government initiatives, encouraging enterprises to invest in lidar-based research, along with the adoption of lidar technology for numerous public-sector applications such as flood relief and management.
Players in the lidar market are building partnerships with other lidar companies to strengthen their positions in the market. In June 2018, for example, Innoviz joined forces with HiRain Technologies to develop new, advanced versions of solid-state lidar devices for China-based car manufacturers. The companies are also focusing on fundraising activities to expand their operations globally. For instance, in November 2018, AEye, a start-up based in the U.S., raised USD 40 million in a series B funding round to scale its operations.