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Ouster, Inc., a leading provider of high-resolution digital lidar sensors for the industrial automation, smart infrastructure, robotics, and automotive industries, is scaling production and achieving major automotive milestones through its partnership with Benchmark Electronics, a strategic contract manufacturer. Benchmark’s global expertise in microelectronics, optics, printed circuit board assembly, and automated testing has enabled Ouster to increase production capabilities, shipping over 2,000 sensors in 2020.
Ouster has shifted the majority of its sensor production to Benchmark’s facility in Thailand, located in a region known for its photonics expertise and highly-skilled labor. Production has already scaled substantially; in Q4 2020 alone, total sensor output increased by over 60% compared to the previous quarter. With Benchmark’s custom microelectronics line, a full-sensor assembly line, and an end-of-line test room within a single facility, Ouster expects Benchmark’s capabilities will result in continued acceleration of production capacity to over thousands of units per month while maintaining quality and costs.
Benchmark’s Thailand facility complies with international standards that govern quality and environmental requirements for the industry, including ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and automotive IATF 16949. Major automotive OEMs completed audits of Ouster’s facility on Benchmark’s Thailand campus in 2019, confirming compliance with quality standards and volume production capacity. This is a critical milestone for any lidar manufacturer in their quest to meet automotive-grade specifications.
“We believe our contract manufacturing capabilities with Benchmark Electronics uniquely position us to achieve our future goal of automotive-grade quality at scale and low cost,” said Darien Spencer, Executive Vice President of Operations at Ouster. “This partnership with Benchmark has enabled us to scale quickly to meet current needs across our four market segments. It also accelerates our capacity to meet the anticipated high volume demands of our automotive customers as they prepare for commercial deployment in the coming years.”
Benchmark’s Thailand facility is expected to support the high volume, low-cost production of Ouster sensors while meeting major industrial quality requirements and future automotive-grade qualifications. Ouster’s San Francisco facility will continue to be utilized for introducing new products and fulfilling select U.S. customer contracts.
In December, Ouster entered into a definitive merger agreement with Colonnade Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: CLA)(“CLA”) in a transaction that would result in Ouster being listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “OUST”. CLA has scheduled the extraordinary general meeting of its shareholders for March 9, 2021 to approve the proposed business combination. The closing of the Business Combination is subject to approval by CLA’s shareholders and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions and is expected to close as soon as practicable following the extraordinary general meeting.