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As passenger mobility becomes electric and more technologically advanced, engineers have developed several components to make car travel easier, more efficient, and, most importantly, safer. One of those emerging technologies is LiDAR, which has several benefits for OEMs who integrate it. Hesai Technologies is one of the leading companies helping make that LiDAR-centric transition possible.

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Hesai Technology is a global leader in LiDAR solutions

Hesai Technology ($HSAI) is three-dimensional light detection and ranging (LiDAR) specialist with offices all over the globe, including Shanghai, Palo Alto, and Stuttgart.

It currently employs over 1,000 personnel who help research, develop, and manufacture advanced LiDAR technologies for a number of applications, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in passenger and commercial vehicles, autonomous driving vehicles, as well as last-mile delivery robots and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

With over 500 granted patents and another 1000+ pending, Hesai puts a lot of time and effort into its LiDAR research and development, and the result is a growing portfolio of advanced safety sensors that can help pave the way for next-generation vehicles coming to market.

LiDAR remains a viable option for next-gen road safety

As advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving applications become more prevalent, the question of whether to use LiDAR sensors, vision cameras, or both is becoming hot topic of debate and an increasingly important one.

Many OEMs have shifted from LiDAR ADAS and self-driving applications to a camera-based vision approach, but environmental factors like lighting and weather conditions can cause confusion.

The automotive and robotics industries are racing against one another to advance from Level 2 autonomous driving (where the driver must keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel), to Level 3 and L4 autonomy, where the driver is no longer responsible for driving the vehicle. In these applications, Hesai Technology argues that LiDAR, like its ultra-thin long-range ET25 sensor, can make an effective difference while enhancing safety both on and off the road.

The camera conundrum

Cameras have been integral to the development of autonomous vehicles and ADAS vehicles, providing visual inputs like human eyes, and still exist as a viable option to an extent. They can provide valuable color information and visual cues such as traffic light status and road sign recognition.

Furthermore, opting to integrate only one kind of sensor, i.e., cameras, saves on production costs which can be passed along to consumers. 

However, cameras can struggle in challenging conditions. They rely heavily on lighting in a vehicle’s given environment, and their performance can be significantly affected in low light or direct sunlight scenarios, presenting potential safety hazards.

Furthermore, cameras capture two-dimensional images, making depth perception and accurate distance measurement more challenging. These potential limitations underscore the need for more robust perception technology that can provide more information about what’s truly happening in the surrounding environment.

Hesai LiDAR can help enhance safety

LiDAR, such as the AT512 from Hesai, uses laser pulses to scan the environment in three dimensions in real-time. This enables a vehicle’s onboard computer to understand its surroundings, offering a reliable and effective solution to the limitations presented when using camera technology alone. 

Hesai Lidar
Source: Hesai Technology

Hesai Technology’s LiDAR is unaffected by lighting conditions, ensuring consistent performance day and night, and in various weather conditions, including fog and heavy rain, where cameras can sometimes struggle. This independence from external light sources makes LiDAR an effective tool for self-driving vehicles, ADAS, and robots that require reliable and constant navigation capabilities.

Another advantage of LiDAR is its ability to detect objects with high precision and measure their distances accurately. This capability is crucial for vehicles operating on public roads at high speeds, which need to identify hazards, such as pedestrians, other vehicles, and obstacles, from a distance and react accordingly to avoid accidents.

Companies like Hesai have also made significant advances in how LiDAR can be integrated into vehicles, cost, and data security. For example, Hesai’s new ATX LiDAR can be integrated into headlights for a sleeker, subtle design. Moreover, significant advances in LiDAR technology and how it’s manufactured have made it much more affordable, allowing automotive and robotics manufacturers to incorporate the technology without major cost increases for consumers.

Hesai Lidar
Key specs of the ATX LiDAR / Source: Hesai Technology

Many people don’t know that as hardware, LiDAR is quite secure as it provides data to the vehicle or robot’s central computer for processing without any ability to store or transmit any data wirelessly because it lacks memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or cellular transmitters.

It also cannot collect biometric data, such as facial scans, because it’s a sensor, not a camera. Furthermore, the 3D maps LiDAR creates of the world around it are not detailed enough for said images.

Cloud Point imaging from the AT128 LiDAR / Source: Hesai Technology

Tech stacks that maximize safety

Although as a LiDAR technology developer, Hesai would argue it offers superior capabilities in object detection and environmental mapping, the company admits its sensors are most effective when used in conjunction with camera systems.

Camera technology has laid the groundwork for the development of autonomous systems, but LiDAR can help overcome the inherent limitations of cameras and ensure the unparalleled safety that consumers and regulators demand. Combined with vision cameras, Hesai’s LiDAR sensors, like the automotive-grade ultra-high resolution AT128 for instance, can offer vehicles a one-two punch in failsafe ADAS technology.

Hesai explains that the integration of LiDAR technology has already shown promising results in enhancing safety across various applications. In the automotive industry, LiDAR-equipped vehicles have demonstrated improved obstacle detection and collision avoidance capabilities, significantly reducing the risk of accidents. With LiDAR technology rapidly evolving, its integration into new applications is quickly becoming more widespread.

The future of autonomous driving is not just about leading the charge but doing so with the assurance that every possible measure for safety has been employed. As the industry moves forward, Hesai Technology strongly believes the combined use of LiDAR and camera systems will be pivotal in achieving the highest safety standards. 

You can learn more about Hesai Technology and all of its LiDAR products here.

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The Invanti Tornado is the Swiss Army knife of e-bikes [Video]

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The Invanti Tornado is the Swiss Army knife of e-bikes [Video]

Want your electric bike to have utility as well as comfort and style? Then, the Invanti Tornado, with its impressive array of optional accessories, could be your ideal ride.

Invanti is developing multi-functional e-bikes to reinvent the e-bike industry. It will launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign on May 22 for its first product, the versatile Tornado e-bike series. Early backers can purchase the Tornado for a super early bird price of $1,299, significant savings vs. gas bikes.

Invanti makes it easy to protect your e-bike from theft with its “invantimobility” app. The smart version Tornado Pro has a smart front hub lock feature that, once activated, can only be unlocked using the app.

This zippy and efficient utility e-bike has a 750W rear hub motor, 1,000 peak power, and a 48V 14.7Ah battery with Samsung cells that give a top speed of up to 25 mph. The Shimano 7-speed transmission, 80 mm travel suspension, 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes, and torque sensor means riding is smooth. It also sports a pair of 20-by-3-inch puncture-resistant tires.

The Tornado provides a range of 60 miles on pedal assist and 25 miles on throttle only. You can additionally install an extra 48V, 10.4Ah battery that you take with you, giving a cumulative total of 100 miles on pedal assist and 43.5 miles on throttle only. Plus, you can use the extra battery as a portable powerbank for your phone.

What makes the Invanti Tornado stand out is the cool accessories it comes with. Your e-bike arrives with a front rack, a rear cargo rack, a rear fork storage bag with lockout, and rear wheel mudguards. It also features front and rear lights with integrated turn signals.

Plus, it offers a choice of nine upgrade accessories, which give this bike an almost modular feel. This means you can make your e-bike bespoke:

If you want to cart around passengers, you can make it happen with the Invanti Tornado’s optional rear seat pad and passenger foot rest, and there’s also a child safety handrail. Its dual-tube aluminum alloy frame can handle payloads of up to 440 pounds.

Invanti’s super early bird price on the Tornado is $1,299, and the official crowdfunding price is $1,499.

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This startup is about to install bladeless rooftop wind turbines on box buildings

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This startup is about to install bladeless rooftop wind turbines on box buildings

Aeromine Technologies just closed a $9 million funding round, and it’s ready to scale up production of its bladeless rooftop wind turbines.

Energy research, investing, and strategy firm Veriten is the lead investor in Aeromine Technologies’ Series A funding round.

Aeromine, launched in 2022, makes compact 50 kW or larger “wind harvesting platforms” that it mounts on the edge of a building’s roof. The rooftop wind units, which have no external moving parts or blades, capture wind flowing up and over the building and convert it into onsite electricity. Its generator system is a rotor-stator system with a highly efficient 5 kW permanent magnet generator. (Specs are here.)

The noiseless technology leverages aerodynamics like airfoils on a race car to capture and amplify each building’s airflow to generate energy. Aeromine says its systems typically consist of 20-40 units installed on the edge of a building facing the predominant wind direction.

Each 1,000-pound unit can withstand winds of between 120 and 158 mph depending on specification.

Aeromine’s units can operate independently or be integrated with existing rooftop solar arrays. Onsite power generation eliminates grid supply disruptions.

Maynard Holt, founder & CEO of Veriten, said:

We believe that distributed power innovation will play a vital role in helping companies fulfill their need for reliable, reasonably priced electricity and desire for low-impact power. We’re excited to partner with Aeromine, as its ability to quickly and affordably help a wide variety of companies meet their energy needs with wind resources is unique among distributed energy solutions.

The bladeless wind turbines are designed to power apartment buildings, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, offices, hospitals, retail centers – basically any big box building with a flat, unobstructed roof.

The company says it has 400 qualified projects in its pipeline and expects to roll out commercially in Europe and North America in 2025. 

Read more: How renewables could beat natural gas in US generating capacity within 3 years – in numbers


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Your personalized solar quotes are easy to compare online and you’ll get access to unbiased Energy Advisers to help you every step of the way. Get started here. –ad*

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Ford likely to enable all dealers to sell EVs amid shifting plans

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Ford likely to enable all dealers to sell EVs amid shifting plans

With changes expected to Ford’s electric vehicle certification program, all Ford dealers will likely be able to sell EVs. Ford is reportedly preparing to open the program amid feedback from its dealers.

Ford poised to open dealers network to sell EVs

After asking dealers to pause EV investments this week, Ford is finalizing changes to the program. Ford already eased requirements last year due to “changes in the market.”

Ford spokesperson Marty Gunsberg confirmed that several dealers opted out of the program this past December. Gunsberg said, “Enrollments for 2024 are just over 50% of the network.” That’s down from about two-thirds confirmed by CEO Jim Farley a year prior.

According to Automotive News, after a series of meetings between dealers and executives, Ford is now preparing to allow all dealers to sell EVs.

Ford is expected to update the financial requirements needed to qualify. Previously, dealers were required to invest at least $500,000 to enroll in the program. For $1.2 million, dealers could be eligible for the “Elite” tier, which included additional chargers, demo units, and a presence on Ford.com.

Ford-dealers-EVs
Ford Mustang Mach E at a Tesla Supercharger (Source: Ford)

If dealers didn’t want to invest, they couldn’t sell Ford EVs. Ford’s vice president of EV programs, Lisa Drake, said the company no longer believes having select dealers sell EVs is the right plan.

More dealers want in but with less financial commitment

“What we’re finding is more dealers want to be involved in it and we don’t want to be exclusive to just a handful,” Drake said. “And so we’re making a change where we’re opening up that and not requiring as many certifications or investments for a dealer to participate in the EV revolution.”

Meanwhile, the changes will not be finalized until early June, when Ford meets with its dealer council.

Ford-dealers-EVs
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning lineup (Source: Ford)

It’s unclear how much Ford will reduce financial requirements to sell EVs, but many believe it will be drastically relaxed to promote participation.

Drake said Ford will be “more ubiquitous with our training and make sure essentially all of our dealers are equipped to sell them” going forward. Ford will need to figure out how to deal with those who have already made investments at the upcoming dealer council meeting.

Ford-dealers-EVs
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Bronze edition (Source: Ford)

Ford slashed prices on its popular Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning in recent months to boost sales.

After cutting Mach-E prices by up to $8,100 earlier this year, Ford introduced a new 0% APR offer on 2024 models this week.

2024 Mustang Mach-E trim Range Starting Price
Mustang Mach-E Select 250 mi $39,995
Mustang Mach-E Premium 320 mi $43,995
Mustang Mach-E GT 280 mi $53,995
Mustang Mach-E Rally 265 mi $59,995
2024 Mustang Mach-E price and range by trim

Ford also introduced new discounts on the 2023 F-150 Lightning this week, offering up to $15,000 off MSRP. F-150 Lightning lease prices were cut by over $400 a month.

If you’re in the market for a new EV, now’s the time to start shopping. You can use our links below to find deals on Ford’s electric vehicles at a dealer near you.

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