On September 29, Hesai Technology announced that the monthly delivery of its AT128 has exceeded 10,000 units, making it the world’s first lidar manufacturer to accomplish the feat.
It took Hesai less than three months to advance from the commencement of mass production to production capacity increase. AT128 is designed for an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). Once released, Hesai received many orders from automobile brands such as Li Auto, JiDU, HiPhi and Lotus. Li Xiang, the CEO of Li Auto, evaluated it as having the strongest performance among auto-grade lidars for mass production vehicles.
This is mainly attributed to the unique chip technology of Hesai, which requires integrating 128 lasers with hundreds of components into a few centimeter-scale chip through a semiconductor process.
Hesai’s customer base is expanding. LatePost reported on September 2 that Xiaomi‘s first car with a price ceiling of more than 300,000 yuan will adopt Hesai’s lidars.
In order to meet larger delivery needs in the future, the company has invested nearly $200 million to build a Maxwell intelligent manufacturing center with a planned annual capacity of over one million units. This new factory is expected to be operational in 2023. The factory has adopted intelligent manufacturing technology, intelligent cloud services, and a large number of industrial robots to realize the automation of more than 100 production processes.
Hesai’s market share has been recognized by international authorities. In the automotive sector, the firm is the world’s largest lidar company by total revenue, according to a report by Yole Intelligence released in August. In the self-driving taxi sector, Hesai also leads by a wide margin, with more than double the share of Waymo. Yole expects more than 200,000 lidars to be delivered in 2022, with 20% coming from Hesai, second only to Valeo’s 29%.
As the leading Chinese lidar enterprise, Hesai and RoboSense have not achieved public listings. Hesai’s IPO application to the Science and Technology Innovation Board in Shanghai was withdrawn in March of last year.
“In fact, the application was withdrawn voluntarily, because we found financing in other ways at that time,” a Hesai insider told local media. In November 2021, Hesai announced the end of D-round financing worth $370 million, led by Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Investment Fund Management, Hillhouse Capital, CPE and Meituan.