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Cheaper lidar sensors brighten the future of autonomous cars

Leader Velodyne offers a new product at a fraction of the price of former models

A Velodyne lidar sensor on an autonomous test vehicle in California, right, and illustrations of Luminar's lidar on a robot taxi, top left (Reuters), and an Aeva sensor that helps self-driving vehicles see the road (Reuters).

TOKYO -- Prices of one key type of the sensors used in autonomous cars are falling rapidly, raising hopes of accelerating progress in the development of self-driving technology.

Velodyne Lidar, the leading manufacturer of lidar sensors, has developed a product with a price only one-hundredth of those up until now. This dramatic drop in price for the sensors at the heart of many autonomous car designs could rev up the speed of the evolution of self-driving vehicles.

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