Pacala said the Ouster-Velodyne combination “is really about providing a future for tech development and building a business that’s financially secure.”

The merger is expected to save $75 million on annual operating costs.

“But there’s still more work to be done, specifically with digital lidar silicon chip-based products and solid-state lidar that will make it affordable enough that it can go in every car and go in every streetlight and you name it,” he told Automotive News.

Lidar products will have to be solid state and cost automakers in the “low hundred dollars,” Pacala said.

Other sensor systems such as cameras and radars have made similar technological and cost reduction leaps, he said. The radar cost reductions came from “silicon integration and semiconductor integration onto a very reduced number of chip sets,” he said.

Lidar technology can get to the price point of automotive radar because it has only three cost centers: the silicon receiver chip, laser and glass optics, Pacala said.

“Those requisite parts at volume should be in the low, low, low hundred dollar technology at ultra-premium performance points,” he said.

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