Eric Amiot has joined the DVN organization to support and accelerate lidar-related activities. Today we bring you this so you can get to know him and his thoughts and ideas about lidar sensors; ADAS, and AD. Amiot has an electronics engineering degree from the University of Supelec, Paris. He has long experience in high-tech products and business development, including:
- as a radar system engineer at SAR, a startup specializing in electronically-scanned antennas, acquired by Thales in 1986;
- as a consultant at DG Conseil, a consultancy in marketing and R&D management of high-tech products for industries including telecoms; defense; automotive, and electronics; he became a partner at DG in 1990;
- At global automotive supplier Valeo from 1993 to March 2022 with diverse responsibilities in project and product line management for interior control products (Paris) then in business development for ADAS in Europe and Asia (Stuttgart, Seoul).
Amiot took active roles in the launch of two key ADAS innovations from Valeo: in 2008 with the launch of the first blind spot detection radar at GM—now almost standard for the mid- and high-range cars—and in 2018 with the launch of the first Valeo Scala automotive lidar at Audi. The second generation is now starting on the new Mercedes S-Class, the first car offering an L3 traffic jam pilot mode up to 60 km/h.
DVN-L: Eric, we are pleased that you will support us in our ongoing work to develop an enthusiastic, active DVN lidar community. What brought you to join our team? What are your expectations in the near future?
Eric Amiot: Why joining DVN? After my retirement in April 2022, I wanted to find a way to continue some work in the ADAS field. I met with DVN at a Lidar Workshop in May 2022 and was impressed by the know-how and reputation of the DVN think tank. Starting a new activity at DVN for lidar makes sense to me since lidar is a very new technology, where there is a need to build a strong community for promotion and standardization.
The job of DVN is to report the significant improvements of the lidar technology, which is becoming mature for luxury cars applications, and which has a potential to change the game in vehicle safety. As we see with Tesla’s Autopilot, it is difficult to build a robust system with a pure vision system.
DVN-L: How do you assess as a newcomer to DVN—but experienced veteran with outside view on the lidar ecosystem—the initial steps of the DVN lidar community? What is your view on the way forward, and how do you foresee your contribution?
E.A.: DVN’s package—the newsletter; access to two think tanks; one workshop, and one conference—is a good way to build the community. I see the need to bring more information and go deeper in understanding the key factors for lidar deployment. DVN should report not only the news related to lidar technology itself (tier-1 and -2), but also bring sharp views on the lidar market environment and usage. The future of lidar is linked to the future of vehicle safety and automated driving. My experience in ADAS will help building this overall picture and bring some deep analysis.
DVN: A clear success element of the DVN-Lidar activities are the yearly conferences gathering regularly more than 200 participants in a live, in-person event. What do you expect from this year’s 5th DVN-Lidar Conference at the Dorint Pallas Hotel in Wiesbaden (Frankfurt)?
E.A.: I already know the DVNewsletter and Workshops. The Conference will be new to me; the success of the Conference last year has shown there is a need to build a strong community with all parties: automakers, tier-1 and -2 suppliers. DVN’s job is to organize the communication around the future of lidar; vehicle safety, and automated driving to get the automakers interested. The expo booths will be the occasion to get more personal talks between automakers and suppliers, and promote the brand new technologies.
DVN: Now let us turn to some questions about your view on the future development of lidar sensors. What are the key parameters influencing the market introduction and adoption rate of lidar systems?
E.A.: I see two key points: first, lidar must deliver the minimum performance to support automated driving cars on highways up to 130 km/h, with a good resolution. Many products should be on the market by 2025. Second, it should also increase the vehicle safety in urban conditions; lidar should enable the zero-accident car. I believe active safety will become more important than passive safety in the future. At a certain point, automakers will have to reduce the weight of the cars: EVs are extremely heavy (2 to 2.5 tons) to transport a single human, most of the time over a short distance.
In short: performance maturity first; cost second which will improve with volumes—this was at least my experience with the BSD radar, whose cost was divided by five in 15 years. You simply cannot sell products with bad performance for safety and automated driving systems.
DVN: With respect to lidar adoption, what is your opinion about regional differences?
E.A.: I see different markets. I expect China to be a big player. China is using Lidar for L2+ systems (L3 regulation will not be ready before 2025-26) and many brands are already launching lidar systems. Moreover, end users believe lidar can do some magic and are ready to pay for it. On the contrary, Lidar deployment in EU/US is more cautious, based on L3 modes, with a regulation in place for traffic jam pilot (< 60 km/h) and one for highway pilot (< 130 km/h) coming early in 2023.
Regarding the new mobility players like delivery droids and urban shuttles, it is easier for these systems to get approval and go on the market. The demand is not big today but might increase very fast in future. And many systems are using several lidars to operate safely in urban environment.
DVN: As a final point, which message would you like to give to the DVN lidar community?
E.A.: I see DVN on a good path to build a new community for the lidar technology, it should work the same way as in the past for the lighting systems.