- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated pedestrian crashes accounting for $112.5 billion in total societal impact in 2019
- According to Cepton, “Systems with lidar, camera & radar have been found to have the potential to prevent 98% of pedestrian fatalities”
- Cepton recently unveiled its new Vista(R)-X90 Plus lidar, the world’s smallest high-performance automotive lidar with software definable perception capabilities
Interest in autonomous driving is high, but most drivers still aren’t comfortable with the idea of operating without human involvement. The reason, as with many new technologies, boils down to understanding. The J.D. Power 2022 Mobility Confidence Index report made this clear, showing consumer’s lapse of understanding the difference between the terms assisted driving, drivers assistance, and semi-autonomous. The education process needs to be accelerated, as technology like Cepton (NASDAQ: CPTN) lidar (light detection and ranging) that is instrumental in assisted driving could play a role in reducing the number of accidents on roadways.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) estimates, 42,915 people died on American roads in 2021, the highest number in 16 years, while fatalities surged 10.5 percent over 2020, the largest year-over-year percentage increase in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. That works out for about 118 people per day, or one person every 12 minutes.
On a pedestrian level, fatalities rose 13% over 2020. In May 2022, the Governors Highway Safety Association published a report finding that pedestrian fatalities increased significantly in 2021, reaching their highest level in 40 years. Lighting was clearly a culprit, with 76 percent of facilities happening at night. The cost can be staggering, considering that the NHTSA estimated pedestrian/vehicle accidents accounted for $112.5 billion in total societal impact in 2019, two years before the record-setting number.
One of the issues with current ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) is that the technology depends upon camera and radar sensing. However, cameras have diminished capabilities in low-light and degraded visual environments and radar, while good in the dark, has limited resolution making it difficult to identify objects. Lidar, on the other hand, uses beams of light to create a 3D map of obstacles around the vehicle, including people, regardless of low light situations. Lidar can also be integrated into emergency braking technologies, further removing human error from the equation.
Change may be in the works. The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), an office of the White House responsible for reviewing proposed regulations of executive agencies, is currently evaluating a new rule proposed by the NHTSA that sets standards for automatic emergency braking (“AEB”) and pedestrian AEB (“PAEB”). The NHTSA sees implementing new AEB and PAEB standards as a possible solution for reversing the trend of rising fatalities and economic strain.
Cepton is part of the Lidar Coalition that met with the OMB earlier this month to discuss how this technology can address the underperformance of current AEB and PAEB systems. Cepton added “Systems with lidar, camera & radar have been found to have the potential to prevent 98% of pedestrian fatalities.” That’s a compelling number that should command Washington’s attention.
Silicon Valley-based Cepton was formed in 2016 by industry veterans with decades of collective experience across the full spectrum of lidar and imaging technologies. In only a few years, the company is known for its lidar-based solutions for automotive applications, as well as those for smart cities, smart spaces and smart industrial uses, as it aims to bring lidar mainstream. Cepton is doing just that, with its technology being integrated into the cars and trucks of the future in part through an ADAS lidar series production award with Koito on the General Motors business. Along with its roots growing in the Motor City, Cepton also has a presence in Germany, Canada, Japan, India and China to serve a fast-growing global customer base.
Cepton is in the final stages before its products are fully integrated into GM automobiles. The company is committed to safety and believes that with GM’s Ultra Cruise program, it can help contribute to the safe deployment of ADAS. As part of GM’s sensor fusion approach, Cepton’s lidar is integrated (behind the windshield) to enable high-precision perception without disrupting vehicle design. The company is proud to support GM’s vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, with its intelligent lidar solutions being an integral part of the Ultra Cruise program.
This month, Cepton unveiled its latest innovation, its record-breaking new lidar branded Vista(R)-X90 Plus, the world’s smallest high-performance automotive lidar with software definable perception capabilities. The Vista-X90 Plus builds on Cepton’s deep experience in industrializing automotive lidar for volume production. Its precursor, Vista(R)-X90, is launching in vehicles this year, setting a new standard as the world’s first lidar ever deployed behind the windshield. Compared to Vista-X90, Vista-X90 Plus is 62% slimmer and enables over 58% reduction in sensor footprint. Vista-X90 Plus also features enhanced sensor performance while maintaining minimal power consumption. Doubling the data rate of Vista-X90, Vista-X90 Plus can achieve ultra-high resolution for improved perception capabilities. Its added real-time software tunable region of interest (“ROI”) enables the sensor to maintain an optimized balance between performance and power efficiency across different driving scenarios.
If performance is as expected, this is exactly the type of innovation that offers the potential to meaningfully curb death and accidents and make roads across the world a whole lot safer.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Cepton.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CPTN are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CPTN
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