US lawmakers have Chinese LiDAR on their threat-detection radar

US lawmakers have Chinese LiDAR on their threat-detection radar

November 29, 2023 at 09:35PM

A US congressional committee is considering whether to ban Chinese LiDAR devices due to national security concerns. They requested an investigation into the technology, as it could potentially be used for military purposes or contain malware, and noted its association with human rights abuses in China.

**Takeaways from Meeting:**

1. The US Congressional Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, headed by Rep. Mike Gallagher, is raising concerns about the potential national security risks posed by Chinese-made LiDAR technology.

2. A formal request has been sent to Secretaries Gina Raimondo, Lloyd Austin, and Janet Yellen to investigate Chinese LiDAR manufacturers and consider implementing sanctions.

3. The letter points out the lack of US export controls or government procurement restrictions on LiDAR, despite its critical use in autonomous systems and potential military applications.

4. Concerns are highlighted that the Chinese government could access large amounts of data from LiDAR devices, which could compromise US mapping, infrastructure, and military systems.

5. The possibility of Chinese LiDAR manufacturers embedding malware in software updates, which could harm US system performance, has been raised.

6. It’s indicated that Chinese-made LiDAR may already be integrated into US defense systems.

7. An additional human rights concern is mentioned, linking LiDAR technology to the surveillance of Uyghurs in China.

8. LiDAR’s significance in autonomous vehicle technology is noted, with China advancing rapidly in this domain both domestically and as an exporter.

9. Chinese state media has recently labeled US concerns over autonomous vehicle technology and data as an excuse to limit China’s technological progress.

10. Previous sanctions and concerns over Chinese tech companies (Huawei, DJI, Hikvision) have resulted in costly ‘rip and replace’ programs, disrupting services such as the UK’s 5G network.

11. The US Senate Commerce Committee estimates that replacing Chinese technology would require $4.98 billion.

The committee suggests scrutinizing the presence and use of Chinese-made LiDAR in the US to safeguard national security and is considering similar restrictive actions as have previously been applied to other Chinese tech firms.

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