On November 2, 2022, Hesai Technology (Chinese: 禾赛科技) officially unveiled FT120, a fully solid-state near-range blind spot LiDAR designed for ADAS series production vehicles. Currently, this product is believed to have received sentinel contract orders with millions of units from multiple vehicle manufacturers, with mass production deliveries expected to begin in the second half of 2023.
The new product, FT120, features 100° x 75° ultra-wide FOV with a maximum detection range of 100 meters. It can perceive surrounding objects such as street signs, railings, small animals, traffic cones, and crosswalks in real-time, providing essential blind spot perception for the vehicle so as to avoid accidents.
With a data rate of 192,000 points per second (in a single return) and an overall resolution of 160 (H) x 120 (V), FT120 can detect rich object details and gather information of the environment in real-time.
Compared with traditional LiDAR, the total number of components in FT120 is greatly reduced with no moving parts inside. This design significantly improves product reliability, production efficiency, and consistency. Unlike the common Flash technical solutions, Hesai's new product possesses higher flexibility with complicated electric circuit control. Equipped with a highly integrated infrastructure, FT120 can maintain its product performance with a relatively small product size.
Recently, monthly delivery of the company's star product AT128 reached over 10,000 units this September, making Hesai Technology the first global automotive LiDAR company to reach a milestone of 10,000 units in monthly delivery.
The co-founder and CEO of Hesai Technology, Yifan Li admitted that the company has done exclusive work to ensure the products meet "a strict automotive-grade standard with considerations incorporating cost, quality, design and product quality".
LiDAR industry is entering a fast development stage, and manufacturing has thus become a must to ensure continuous iterative technological development and quality control. In Hesai, manufacturing is a key component that can hardly be stripped from R&D. Yifan Li mentioned that "manufacturing is a part of R&D". The company CTO Shaoqing Xiang added that Hesai started self-assembling products back when the company only had 20 employees.
With an investment of approximately USD 200 million, the company plans to establish a smart-manufacturing center called "Maxwell" in Shanghai, which is expected to own an annual production capacity of 1.2 million units and achieve mass production whilst meeting customization demands.
Hesai has been actively seeking for opportunities overseas. On a report named 'LiDAR 2022 – Focus on Automotive and Industrial' issued by a French consulting firm Yole Group, Hesai has reached a 58% market share in L4 autonomous driving LiDAR industry, whilst fulfilling 27% of pre-installed global sentinel contract orders. These two statistics both ranked first worldwide.
Yifan Li regarded globalization as an inevitable trend in AD and ADAS industry. Currently Hesai's clients consist of global mainstream autonomous driving companies, top-tier automakers, first-tier suppliers and robotic companies located in over 40 countries and 90 cities globally.
Based on public data in 2021, approximately half of the revenue in Hesai Technology came from overseas. When talking about Hesai's advantages in the overseas market, Yifan Li agreed that the company's capabilities in terms of mass production and production efficiency stand beyond its overseas competitors.
The CEO has faith in long-term value in a fast-paced industry like LiDAR. As a result, Yifan Li believed that Hesai has done "many things which are of little benefit in the short term but are essential and of great benefit in the long term". Hence, EqualOcean holds a firm belief that in the future, Chinese companies will have the best LiDAR products in the world.