Man says CES lidar’s laser was so powerful it wrecked his $1,998 camera

January 11, 2019

A man attending this week’s CES show in Las Vegas says that a lidar sensor from startup AEye has permanently damaged the sensor on his $1,998 Sony camera. Earlier this week, Jit Ray Chowdhury, an autonomous vehicle engineer at the startup Ridecell, snapped photos of a car at CES with AEye’s lidar units on top. He discovered that every subsequent picture he took was marred by two bright purple spots, with horizontal and vertical lines emanating from them.

“I noticed that all my pictures were having that spot,” he told Ars by phone on Thursday evening. “I covered up the camera with the lens cap and the spots are there—it’s burned into the sensor.”

In an email to Ars Technica, AEye CEO Luis Dussan stressed that AEye lidars pose no danger to human eyes. But he didn’t deny that AEye’s lidars can cause damage to camera sensors.

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