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Velodyne LiDAR Announces VLS-128, the World's Highest Resolution LiDAR for Autonomous Vehicles

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【Summary】Silicon Valley based Velodyne Labs today announced that it has produced a new LiDAR with the world's best resolution, longest range, and widest field of view, the result of which will boost the autonomous vehicle and advanced safety market.

Original Eric Walz    Nov 07, 2017 12:42 PM PT
Velodyne LiDAR Announces VLS-128, the World's Highest Resolution LiDAR for Autonomous Vehicles

SAN JOSE, Calif., — Silicon Valley based Velodyne Labs today announced that it has produced a new LiDAR with the world's best resolution, longest range, and widest field of view, the result of which will boost the autonomous vehicle and advanced safety market.

The Velodyne VLS-128, with 128 laser beams, produces the best resolution and will replace the HDL-64E LiDAR as the industry standard for high performance. High-resolution LiDAR is critical component for the navigation of autonomous cars. Velodyne expects that the VLS-128 will become the new standard for fully autonomous cars and cars equipped with advanced safety features with the quantity of data it produces in real time at high-speed.

Velodyne's President and Chief Business Development Officer said, "When it comes to safety, it is critical for a car to have really good eyes for driving. You need 3D vision that accurately measures and generates a billion data points in real time at the speed of light. This is the technology necessary to simultaneously judge the speed of other vehicles, determine pedestrian locations, and judge safety with assurance. Car makers entering the autonomous driving arena have been telling us that high resolution is key. Now we have it."

"The VLS-128 provides the highest resolution with the widest field of view in the world. Would you drive if your vision was like looking underwater? The world might look like this driving with other systems that are less precise. With the VLS-128 LiDAR, there are billions of data points to analyze a dynamic, changing environment to determine safety," states Velodyne President Marta Hall about the breakthrough in LiDAR resolution.

A Velodyne sensor provides real-time 3D images all around the vehicle, including detecting objects two football fields away (600 ft), while producing billions of data points to help a self-driving car navigate safely. LiDAR is more reliable, based on measurements, and therefore more accurate than a camera based (computer vision) autonomous system.

Velodyne LiDAR, Inc. Founder and CEO David Hall invented the 360-degree solid-state hybrid LiDAR ten years ago to use and sell in the Darpa Grand Challenge. He designed and sold the HDL-64 LiDAR, which since then became the standard LiDAR for the autonomous car industry, and was adopted by Google for autonomous driving development. The recognizable bucket shape can be spotted on the roof of most autonomous cars today because Velodyne sells to 250 customers worldwide. The first autonomous cars that successfully drove cross-country and another million miles were equipped with Velodyne's HDL-64.

In September 2017, Velodyne offered sneak previews of the VLS-128 dense picture to select customers attending the IAA Auto Show in Frankfurt, Germany. An upgrade to the HDL-64, the VLS-128 offers a richer image with four times the data points and density than the HDL-64. This will enhance the ability for object detection and collision avoidance while traveling highways speeds, by gathering of billions more data points traveling in real time.

High-resolution LiDAR is important for object detection and collision avoidance at all speeds, with the highest resolution available for traveling at speeds higher than 30 miles per hour. The faster a vehicle goes, the more data is needed at a faster pace.

The VLS-128 is a 70 percent size reduction from the HDL-64, with double the range and four times the resolution.  It is the highest performing LiDAR sensor on the market in terms of field of view, range, resolution, and ability to deal with a complex environment. Due to its 905nm technology, it operates in dry climates and wet environments, and is based on mass-produced CMOS semiconductor (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) technologies. It is produced today at Velodyne's Megafactory in San Jose using a proprietary fully automatic laser alignment and manufacturing system. Future models will also be produced as part of Velodyne's Tier-1 Automotive Program.


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