In Anticipation of Next Generation Sensors for Auto Sector, Industry Leader Velodyne LiDAR Scales for Mass Production
MORGAN HILL, Calif., Aug. 31, 2015—Technology innovator Velodyne LiDAR today announced that the company is preparing to scale up for high-volume manufacturing of sensors for automotive applications, including self-driving cars.
Velodyne is recognized worldwide for creating the standard for high-definition, real-time 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors for autonomous vehicle applications, establishing the critical enabling technology for the industry. Velodyne introduced LiDAR during the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and has since optimized it for self-driving cars. Today, Velodyne’s multi-channel 3D sensors are used by virtually every car manufacturer and tier 1 supplier in the auto industry, as well as for heavy equipment, trucks, and marine navigation.
Velodyne is now poised for mass production of its VLP-16 LiDAR Puck and successor products, according to Mike Jellen, company president. Announced last fall, the VLP-16 is a 16-channel real-time 3D LiDAR sensor that is both substantially smaller and significantly less expensive than previous generation sensors. In a bid to bolster auto safety, Velodyne will also develop and market LiDAR sensors aimed at alerting drivers to potential hazards via 3D visualization, and has released a preliminary design concept.
In recent months, Velodyne has taken a series of actions designed to accelerate the company’s move from a market leading innovator with recognized customers worldwide, to a sophisticated organization known for industry-leading business practices and rigorous business process improvement.
In addition to naming Jellen — a seasoned industrial automation executive with extensive global and domain experience — president and COO, Velodyne recently appointed Pieter Kerstens Vice President of Engineering. Kerstens is a 30-year veteran of high tech engineering and manufacturing management within the U.S., Europe and Asia, for organizations that include TDK, Xicato, IBM, Philips and Hitachi, among others. This summer, the company also appointed a senior executive to oversee its mass production capabilities.
Velodyne recently set up a production-line style manufacturing process for the VLP-16 and subsequent products, a line that can be adapted to robotics and automation while ensuring automotive-grade reliability.
“We have long been the industry’s reference point in LiDAR, delivering innovative, versatile products, based on proven technology, to some 500 customers thus far,” Jellen said. “Within the last eight years, vehicles equipped with Velodyne LiDAR sensors are estimated to have carried in excess of 3,000 drivers and traveled more than 50 million incident-free miles. That’s the track record of an undisputed market leader.”
The market analyst firm Frost & Sullivan honored the company and the VLP-16 with its 2015 North American Automotive ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) Sensors Product Leadership Award, reporting that Velodyne “has developed the right product at the right price, giving them a critical competitive advantage in the market (with a) “a ‘best of both worlds’ offering.”
About Velodyne LiDAR
Founded in 1983 and based in California’s Silicon Valley, Velodyne Acoustics, Inc. is a diversified technology company known worldwide for its high-performance audio equipment and real-time LiDAR sensors. The company’s LiDAR division evolved after founder/inventor David Hall competed in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge using stereovision technology. Based on his experience during this challenge, Hall recognized the limitations of stereovision and developed the HDL-64 high-resolution LiDAR sensor. Velodyne subsequently released its compact, lightweight HDL‑32E sensor, available for many applications including UAVs, and the new VLP-16 LiDAR Puck, a 16-channel real-time LiDAR sensor that is both substantially smaller and dramatically less expensive than previous generation sensors. Market research firm Frost & Sullivan has honored the company and the VLP-16 with its 2015 North American Automotive ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) Sensors Product Leadership Award. Since 2007, Velodyne’s LiDAR division has emerged as the leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of real-time LiDAR sensor technology used in a variety of commercial applications including autonomous vehicles, vehicle safety systems, 3D mobile mapping, 3D aerial mapping and security. For more information, visit www.velodynelidar.com.