Lidar pioneer Velodyne unveils next-generation Velabit sensor – FutureCar.com
author: Eric Walz
The new Velabit lidar sensor delivers industry-leading performance in a compact size.
Velodyne Lidar Inc. unveiled its next-generation Velabit lidar sensor on Monday. The improved sensor addresses the cost, safety and design challenges of autonomous vehicles while delivering industry-leading performance in a compact form factor.
The newest velabit lidar sensor is an automotive grade lidar solution to support both advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or autonomous vehicles. The updated Velabit sensor features Velodyne’s proprietary Micro-Lidar Network (MLA) architecture and offers an ultra-wide field of view (FoV) and higher resolution.
According to Velodyne, the next-generation solid-state Velabit sensor now has a maximum horizontal FoV of 90 degrees and a maximum vertical FOV of 70 degrees, about three times as many dots per second as the previous model. The FOV is software configurable and offers high resolution zoom capability.
The sensor can also be combined with other Velodyne lidar sensors, such as the Velarray H800, for automated highway driving applications or as a standalone lidar solution for low speed applications.
This lightweight Velabit sensor features a small form factor and low power consumption and can be used in multiple industries, such as self-driving cars, compact delivery vehicles, robots, or aerial mapping applications.
“With our next-generation Velabit, Velodyne continues to innovate with a small-sized sensor for sleek and stylish integration while delivering high-quality performance,” said Anand Gopalan, CEO of Velodyne Lidar. “Our team of dedicated engineers have worked to bring our customers’ needs to life in less than a year, underscoring our commitment to meeting market demands.”
Velodyne, which is based in San Jose, California, is a pioneer in the development of lidar, which is an acronym for “light sensing and ranging.” Company founder David Hall invented 360-degree lidar in 2005. Velodyne claims to be the automotive industry’s largest supplier of lidar sensors, with more than 300 customers worldwide.
By emitting pulses of laser light, lidar sensors can generate 3D images of a vehicle’s surroundings for safer navigation.
Velodyne was one of the first companies to provide lidar to autonomous vehicle developers over a decade ago, including for Google’s autonomous car project in 2009. Back then, lidar sensors were much more large, resembling a rotating bucket on the roof of an autonomous vehicle.
Today, more compact and reliable solid-state lidar sensors are being developed by Velodyne and many other lidar companies, including Volvo-backed Luminar.
Lidar sensors act like the eyes of an autonomous vehicle. They work by sending pulses of laser light at objects and measuring the time it takes for the light to reflect. The reflected laser light that bounces off solid objects is used to generate an accurate, three-dimensional view of an autonomous vehicle’s surroundings, known as a lidar “point cloud”.
When paired with cameras and radars as part of an autonomous vehicle perception sensor suite, the velabit lidar sensor can help automakers achieve full 360-degree coverage around a vehicle. . Its wide vertical field of view also makes it ideal for near-field sensing and robotics applications.
There is a growing demand from the automotive industry for low cost, high performance lidar sensors to support advanced safety features, such as pedestrian detection systems that are becoming standard on many new vehicles. Velabit is helping meet the demand for lower cost lidar sensors, while helping to accelerate the development of stand-alone technologies.
In October 2020, Velodyne announced a three-year sales agreement with Chinese Baidu to supply lidar sensors for autonomous driving applications. Baidu is launching a fully autonomous taxi service in China called “Apollo Go” as part of its open source autonomous driving platform Apollo. The autonomous vehicle fleet will use Velodyne’s lidar sensors.
Velabit will be combined with Velodyne’s lidar-based perception software called “Vella”. The software translates Velabit’s point cloud data into valuable perceptual outputs, including object classification and tracking, obstacle detection, scene segmentation and object speed, which can be used by the system. autonomous driving of a vehicle.
When combined with vehicle odometry data, Vella software provides measurements of time and distance to collision, allowing for a safer vehicle response, according to Velodyne.
The Velabit is designed for mass production. Velodyne’s fully automated manufacturing process and global manufacturing partnerships enable high-quality mass production as of Q4 2022, the company said.
Since its launch, the Velabit lidar sensor has been named the Best of What’s New 2020 winner by Popular Science. The sensor was also named the winner of the 2020 Innovation Prize by Silicon Valley Robotics.
Last year, Velodyne became a public company under a reverse merger deal with Graf Industrial Corp. (GRAF), a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC). As part of the deal, GRAF was rebranded as “Velodyne Lidar, Inc.” and is listed on the Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol “VLDR”.