USA Considers Ban on Chinese Lidar Devices

Special Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCP), headed by Mike Gallagher, sent US Minister Gene Raymondo, US Army General Lloyd Austin and US Minister Gzhanet Yellen with a request to investigate Chinese Lidar manufacturers and the possibility of sanctions against such organizations.

Lidar is a technology used in autonomous systems and robotics, but at present it does not fall under the control of US export or limiting public procurement, which causes a number of fears. Legislators have expressed concern that Beijing at any time may require a lot of data from Lidar manufacturers, potentially providing information that concerns not only US cardography and infrastructure, but also American military systems.

In addition, the letter expressed concerns that Chinese Lidar manufacturers can “introduce harmful software through software updates, which can worsen the operation of US systems.” The Committee also suggested that it may be too late – Chinese Lidar devices are already present in defense systems and platforms.

Congress has also connected Lidar manufacturers with violations of human rights in relation to the Uyghur population in China. According to Gallagher, Lidar technology is used to observe the minority of the Muslim population.

Human rights organizations have long indicated the facts of the mass suppression of the Uyghur population in China: from tracking and imprisonment to forced labor and cultural re-education. Separate groups even claim to conduct campaigns on compulsory sterilization of Uyghurs. In July, it became known that the Chinese manufacturer of Hikvision surveillance equipment last year received $6 million from the Beijing government for technology that allows identifying Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic group in China.

Lidar uses impulse laser light to measure the distance, speed, and height of objects, to map the environment. The technology has a wide range of applications and has recently been actively used in autonomous vehicles – an area in which China is rapidly advancing both in the domestic market and as an exporter.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.