Alphabet-owned autonomous vehicle company Waymo has stated that it has put an end to a two-year effort to sell light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors to other firms.
This is a reversal from its earlier strategy to sell the LiDARs to non-automotive customers in order to reduce the cost of a key and expensive component of self-driving cars.
“We’re winding down our commercial LiDAR business as we maintain our focus on developing and deploying our Waymo Driver across our Waymo One (ride-hailing) and Waymo Via (delivery) units. Further, the company will continue to build its LiDARs in-house,” a Waymo spokesperson said in a statement.
Waymo is exploring both internal technology and external sources for its next-generation LiDARs, according to a source familiar with the matter.
As per the reports, “The move to stop selling LiDARs comes after the departure of CEO John Krafcik and some other executives, which had fueled questions about whether Waymo would rethink its strategy after failing to generate significant revenue for over a decade.”
In 2019, Waymo said that it would sell one of its three in-house LiDARs to customers in robotics, farming, and other industries, rather than competing self-driving vehicle companies.
Mr. Simon Verghese, Head of the LiDAR Team said in a previous statement, “We can scale our autonomous technology faster, making each sensor more affordable through economies of scale.”
It was unclear whether Waymo’s LiDAR sales business could produce enough income to cover research and operations expenditures, as per the reports.
LiDARs use laser pulses to measure distances and render precise images of the environment around the car. Most self-driving firms, including Waymo, say LiDARs are key to achieving full autonomy.