Hesai plans European plant as lidar grows.

Hesai Group Expanding to Europe With More Affordable Lidar Sensors

Hesai Group, a leading manufacturer of lidar sensors for smart cars, is setting its sights on Europe. The company, known for making once-expensive components more affordable, is considering building plants outside mainland China to capitalize on the global automotive industry’s rapid evolution. David Li Yifan, the co-founder and CEO, revealed that Hesai plans to focus more on development in Europe in the long term.

Hesai serves prominent clients like Li Auto and Geely, producing lidars that use laser beams to create precise maps around vehicles. Their latest ATX technology aims to enhance advanced driver assistance systems, offering a longer detection range, higher resolution, and wider field of view. This new technology can identify environmental conditions like rain and fog in real-time, filtering out over 99% of noise.

Dismissed by Tesla’s Elon Musk in 2019, lidar sensors have seen a significant surge in demand. The cost of these sensors has decreased from thousands of dollars to several hundred dollars, making them more accessible. Hesai is committed to making lidars as affordable as possible and predicts widespread usage in the near future.

Impact on the Automotive Industry

With six out of every ten new electric vehicles worldwide being sold in China, lidars are considered essential for developing fully autonomous vehicles. Last year alone, over 440,000 EVs in China were equipped with lidar sensors, representing 10.4% of total sales.

Experts predict a rise in lidar adoption, with the penetration rate expected to reach 16% this year, translating to approximately 1 million units. This increasing demand is projected to lower prices as production costs decrease with higher output.

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Despite reporting a net loss last year, Hesai has seen a 56.1% increase in revenue and a 176.1% surge in deliveries. The company raised $190 million through a Nasdaq listing in February 2023, showcasing investor confidence in its growth potential.

Global Expansion and Future Prospects

As part of its expansion strategy, Hesai is exploring opportunities outside China and aims to leverage its technology in Europe. By localizing production, the company can mitigate potential issues related to tariffs and subsidies. European Commission’s investigation into foreign state subsidies may lead to higher tariffs on Chinese-made EVs, prompting companies like Hesai to diversify their manufacturing locations.

Hesai’s innovative approach and commitment to affordability are reshaping the lidar industry. With a focus on developing products for the global market, the company is poised to play a significant role in the automotive sector’s transition towards autonomous driving.

Overall, Hesai’s expansion into Europe and the advancements in lidar technology mark a significant shift in the automotive industry. As demand for lidar sensors continues to grow, companies like Hesai are well-positioned to lead the way in shaping the future of smart mobility.