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Christopher Revealing the Story behind Camsense's Innovation-Driven Growth

"So far, the entire shipment of our lidar has doubled compared to last year, and the monthly shipment in September reached the order of 100,000+." Camsense's CEO Christopher is very excited told reporters.

This data was unexpected by Christopher, but it made sense when he thought about it.

At the beginning of January every year, Camsense will set a goal for the next year. In January this year, Christopher said in an interview that Camsense's business goal this year is that its shipments will reach the level of one million units. In early February, the sudden new crown epidemic caused Camsense to almost shut down for two months. In the context of no shipments for two whole months, Christopher gradually lowered his expectations for the million-level target. What Christopher didn't expect was that after the epidemic, Camsense quickly adjusted its status and expanded its production line, which will usher in a surge in shipments.

"This year, we may appropriately lower the shipment target of one million units, because after all, the epidemic is still affected, but it will not be too bad." Christopher said.

Camsense, founded in 2014, is an independent third-party manufacturer of domestic consumer-grade lidars. Judging from the volume of fragments that ship more than 100,000 units per month, Camsense is also the second independent company in China that can reach this level. For third-party lidar manufacturers, the first one that can reach a monthly volume of 100,000+ is a listed company.

After the epidemic, shipments surged

Camsense's core business is divided into two lines: one is the core algorithm line, and the other is the product line. In the product line, Camsense has developed two professional and consumer product lines, namely the high-precision positioning system Camsense M Pro, Camsense S and LiDAR Camsense X1.

It is understood that the lidar Camsense X1 can be used for robots vacuum, positioning and navigation of monitoring robots, obstacle avoidance, etc. It has been commercialized in Dreame, Haier, 360, Lenovo and other brands of the Xiaomi ecological chain.

Christopher said that in the consumer electronics lidar industry, the low and peak seasons of shipments are also very obvious, and the ratio of shipments in the first half of the year and the beginning of the second half of the year can reach 1:5. "Especially in the four months from August to December, the shipments of lidars are very large."

Looking back, it is reasonable that Camsense's shipments in September could reach 100,000+. Of course, compared to last year's shipments, Camsense's lidar shipments this year have almost doubled.

The surge in value is just the result of Camsense's market performance, and Christopher is more concerned about the reasons behind it. Christopher told reporters about three reasons for the surge in numbers.

The first is the dividend of the industry. With the innovation and breakthrough of a series of technologies of robots vacuum, the cost has dropped significantly, the user experience favorability has increased, and the development of the entire industry has accelerated. "The penetration rate of robots vacuum in households continues to increase, and the user experience is getting better and better after consumers purchase, which makes the robot vacuum industry usher in a great opportunity for development. Our development benefits from the development of the consumer electronics industry such as robots vacuum. Bonus period," Christopher said.

The second is the technological dividend. Consumer-grade electronic products, especially robots vacuum, are inseparable from the use of lidar. More and more technology manufacturers like Camsense are entering the field of lidar, which makes lidar penetration in the category. The higher it is, the faster it develops.

Christopher said, "The most important thing about the surge in our shipments this year is the competitiveness of our products." Camsense has also developed ASIC chips through its core algorithm production line. With the support of the algorithm and chip level, Camsense can further develop Two product lines were developed.

In the field of lidar, Christopher believes that Camsense entered the game relatively late. The project was officially established in September 2017, and the Double Eleven was officially launched in the second year. Despite its relatively late launch, Camsense lidars have been doing well in the market. "Because of some unique designs of our products and technologies, we have a certain degree of competitiveness and can quickly enter this market and even catch up with the latecomers."

The test of 100,000+ monthly shipments

Although the shipment data is amazing, Christopher does not deny that the biggest bottleneck of Camsense is also the production capacity.

"Lidar is a high-precision opto-mechanical integration product. The manufacturing process of the product involves electronics, mechanical structure, and optics. This is not something that can be done overnight, and it is necessary to ensure large-scale production. On the basis of shipments, it is also very difficult to ensure quality,” Christopher explained.

How to solve the pressure on shipping? Christopher's idea was to expand the production line. At the end of last year, Camsense had already started preparing for a new production line, but never thought that the epidemic at the beginning of the year had disrupted all previous plans. "The expansion of the production line was forced to be pushed to April. While preparing for the construction of a new production line, we had to ensure shipments. During the busiest time, we had to use three-shift production, which was a last resort. "The new production line was officially put into operation in August, but what Christopher didn't expect was that September will reach 100,000+ shipments, which is another huge test for Camsense. "We really didn't think about it. This year will be close to the shipments of last year in one month, including my own previous experience, and the shipments of more than 100,000 units a month have indeed brought our company a full range of Test." Christopher said that the huge shipments not only test the company's supply chain system, but also the ability of the foundry, as well as the delivery ability of suppliers, and the company's quality monitoring system.

Christopher took a long sigh and said, "Fortunately, we are all here." After the test, Camsense has grown in all directions. Christopher also said that in the recent shipping plan, he encountered a very demanding customer, and This kind of customer group has very strict requirements for products, and every detail from product development to design will strive for perfection. "We have followed this customer for more than a year, from research and development to the overall follow-up of the supply chain. From another perspective , this kind of customer also improves the company's capabilities in all aspects, and the impact is also very large, I think it is worth investing time and energy in this kind of customer."

Such customers Christopher cherishes very much. After following a customer, it is also a growth for Camsense. Of course, in addition to ensuring quality, Christopher also emphasized that Camsense will further expand the production line, "By the middle of next year, our company should have a larger and more advanced production line put into production, which is what our company is building now. A very important project."

Innovation drives growth

Christopher attaches great importance to innovation, and Camsense has always maintained this attitude of continuous innovation and put it into action. In addition to expanding the production line to ensure product production capacity, Camsense also pays great attention to the improvement of product quality, and has taken measures to reduce product costs and increase efficiency from two levels, namely the sensor chip level and the self-developed ASIC chip.

On the sensor chip, Camsense uses a consumer-grade area array Sensor instead of an industrial-grade line array Sensor. They have transformed the chips shipped in large quantities on mobile phones and PCs for their own use through algorithms, replaced the original expensive, industrial-grade chips without increasing the cost, and used the transformed chips for lidar. The vertical field of view of the sensor at the area array level can reach 30°-40°, which also makes the later assembly industry process simpler and faster, and more importantly, the reliability of the product has been greatly improved.

Another innovation is that Camsense independently developed, designed and tape-out a dedicated ASIC chip. The resources and performance of the chip are tailored for this field, and it achieves the most optimized configuration without unnecessary waste. “We also have a cost advantage on dedicated processor chips, which can reduce a dozen-dollar chip to a few bucks, and the ASIC chip also greatly improves the reliability and fault tolerance of our products. This is also Camsense One of the big advantages in lidar," Christopher said.

"Our company has emerged and participated in this industry, and we must actively change this industry and promote the development of this industry." In Christopher's eyes, how to change an industry must be inseparable from innovation. Behind innovation, Camsense insists on Investment in research and development, "Our company's main competitiveness comes from our research and development, and our investment in research and development is also significantly higher than that of companies in the same industry, including our investment in research and development talents, equipment and research and development treatment. That said, Camsense is an R&D-led company."

"In the technology industry, if you lose the drive to innovate, this company will be eliminated very quickly. But Camsense will not, so although we are a latecomer in the field of lidar, but we have indeed achieved corner overtaking through innovation, It's undeniable," Christopher said.


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