Despite early adoption among Japanese car makers, laser sensor installations lag behind radar installations when it comes to collision avoidance and mitigation systems. For 2013, Strategy Analytics forecasts 4.5 million units of radar sensors compared with only two million laser sensors for distance warning applications, such as adaptive cruise control.
Weather is a serious concern for laser system manufacturers. However, new laser systems from Ibeo can operate in poor weather conditions. Participation in the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) challenges has proven that automotive laser technology can be successfully implemented. Despite this advancement, there is a question about the future of laser-based Ibeo, a relatively new company competing against established, radar-based players. Falling radar sensor prices will further intensify competition.
According to Strategy Analytics, laser technology is regarded as a low-cost alternative to radar and is mainly targeted at economy cars. Purchasers of economy cars are less likely to buy expensive optional safety features. In addition, luxury cars are more likely to include radar-based safety features as a standard offering.