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Velodyne introduces new low-cost fixed-laser solid-state LiDAR for autonomous driving and ADAS applications

Velodyne LiDAR announced its new fixed-laser, solid-state Velarray LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor, a cost-effective yet high-performance and rugged automotive product in a small form factor. (Earlier post.) The Velarray sensor can be seamlessly embedded in both autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assist safety (ADAS) systems.

The new Velarray LiDAR sensor uses Velodyne’s proprietary ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) to achieve superior performance metrics in a small package size of 125mm x 50mm x 55mm that can be embedded into the front, sides, and corners of vehicles. It provides up to a 120-degree horizontal and 35-degree vertical field-of-view, with a 200-meter range even for low-reflectivity objects.

Velodyne LiDAR’s new approach to the development of solid-state LiDAR sensors reflects the application of a monolithic gallium nitride (GaN) integrated circuit, developed in partnership with Efficient Power Conversion (EPC). The design consolidates components and results in significant advances in sensor miniaturization, reliability, and cost reduction. Each integrated circuit is less than 4mm square.

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With an automotive integrity safety level rating of ASIL B, Velarray will support safe operation in Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles but also in ADAS-enabled cars. It has a target price in the hundreds of dollars when produced in mass volumes.

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The company has scheduled customer demonstration of the core technology for the summer of 2017, with engineering sample units available by the end of 2017 ahead of production in 2018. It will be produced in scale at the company’s new Megafactory in San Jose.

The Velarray enables not only fully autonomous vehicles, but also ADAS systems such as adaptive cruise control, while at the same time providing a miniature form factor and mass production target prices. It offers a unique value proposition empowering a vehicle system that improves the safe driving experience, alongside an upgraded path to full autonomy.

—Mike Jellen, President & Chief Commercial Officer, Velodyne LiDAR

Velodyne LiDAR invented and patented the first 3D real-time LiDAR sensors in 2005. Its surround-view sensors provide up to 360-degree coverage at long range and have been installed in thousands of vehicles. The Velarray was developed at Velodyne Labs, the company’s advanced research and development group, to combine the performance and reliability of its legacy LiDAR sensors with a small form factor to deliver the foremost technology and flexibility for enabling advanced safety and autonomous vehicles.

Comments

Herman

Elon has already said LiDAR is unneccessary. And if Elon doesn't need it then what makes the huge crowd of earth-hating-car-companies-who-are-not-Tesla think it makes any sense?

Clearly there are enormously wasteful enterprises out there who don't understand they are doomed... DOOMED, I tell you... in their Quixotic attempts to surpass the juggernaut of Tesla, The Car Company That Isn't a Car Company.

Juan Valdez

Elon is no expert in autonomous driving, his engineers are. And I bet some of them think LIDAR could be helpful. Don't be surprised if LIDAR is quietly added to Teslas in the future.

That said, Tesla's enormous advantage is it's thousands of cars are mapping every road in real-time, something other companies can't match yet. This may be why their system will be the most accurate. Basically they are creating a global map of every road, intersection, sign, etc, that every other car can then learn from. What will become a semi-autonomous fleet of interconnected vehicles sharing information. This is so Cool !!

FS

Pretty much all other car companies use LiDAR in their next generation cars. The point cloud 3D maps they generate right now at Ford, Google and Uber are also used to "see trough" Snow, Rain and dense Fog since the car knows the topology of the road and can filter the noise. I guess that's why Elon will add LiDAR at some point down the road.

SJC

Lidar gives you the fine resolution that radar and cameras can not, it IS essential no matter what some say.

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