Nikon to Produce Lidar for Velodyne

April 26, 2019 at 8:27 AM

Camera giant Nikon Corp., which invested $25 million in Velodyne Lidar Inc. last year, will produce lidar systems for the California-based company through its Sendai Nikon subsidiary in Japan.

Production is due to ramp up later this year. Velodyne says the partnership will help it reduce costs and transition to high-volume manufacturing while maintaining current quality levels.

In addition to applications for autonomous vehicles, lidar produced at the Nikon facility is expected to be used in unmanned aerial vehicles and for robotics, security, mapping and agriculture equipment. Velodyne opened its own “megafactory” in San Jose, Calif., where it aims to eventually produce more than one million lidar units annually.

Nikon and Velodyne also are exploring potential technical partnerships. This includes melding Nikon’s optical and precision expertise with Velodyne’s lidar technology.

Velodyne says it has more than 250 customers worldwide, mostly for low-volume prototype applications and autonomous vehicle test fleets. Ford Motor Co. and Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc. each invested $75 million in the company in 2016.