Velodyne Acquires HD Mapping Startup Mapper.ai to Advance its Lidar-based Driver Assist Software
【Summary】Velodyne Lidar Inc announced on Monday that it acquired the high-definition mapping and localization software, as well as the intellectual property assets from San Francisco-based startup Mapper.ai. Mapper.ai specializes in creating custom, high-definition maps for its clients working on autonomous driving.
Velodyne Lidar Inc announced on Monday that it acquired the high-definition mapping and localization software, as well as the intellectual property assets from San Francisco-based startup Mapper.ai. Mapper.ai specializes in creating custom, high-definition maps for its clients working on autonomous driving. The company claims it can build a map of anywhere in the world in as little as 24 hours.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Velodyne is best known for its pioneering work on lidar. With its acquisition of Mapper.ai, the company is now moving into the software space, developing advanced driver assist systems using lidar technology.
Mapper.ai's highly-detailed mapping and localization technology will enable Velodyne to accelerate development of its Vella software, which the company claims is a breakthrough advanced driver assistance solution based on the company's Velarray lidar sensor.
"Velodyne has both created the market for high-fidelity automotive lidar and established itself as the leader. We have been Velodyne customers for years and have already integrated their lidar sensors into easily deployable solutions for scalable high-definition mapping," said Dr. Nikhil Naikal, founder and CEO of Mapper, who is joining Velodyne. "We are excited to use our technology to speed up Velodyne's lidar-centric software approach to ADAS."
Velodyne's Vella software, when combined with the company's lidar, supports advanced automotive safety system (ADAS) technologies, such as Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
The high-definition (HD) maps created by Mapper.ai are crucial for helping autonomous vehicles (AVs) operate safely. A map for an autonomous car is different from the maps drivers use for navigation. These maps offer a much higher level of detail, with centimeter-level accuracy of road lanes to keep an autonomous vehicle centered in a lane and perform other driving maneuvers like a human driver.
The HD maps developed by Mapper.ai offer centimeter level accuracy for self-driving cars. (Photo: Mapper.ai)
Velodyne says its lidar technology is precise enough to support high-speed, highway autonomous driving. The company's Velarray lidar is the first solid-state lidar sensor that is embeddable and small enough to fit behind a vehicle's windshield. Mass production of the Velarray lidar sensor is scheduled to being in 2020.
Along with acquiring all of Mapper.ai's intellectual property, Velodyne announced that Mapper.ai's entire leadership and engineering teams will join Velodyne, bolstering the company's large and growing software development team.
The new talent will augment the current software team of engineers working on Vella software, which will accelerate Velodyne's production of more advanced ADAS systems for self-driving vehicles.
"The goal in the automotive market is to make transportation safer. By adding Vella software to our broad portfolio of lidar technology, Velodyne is poised to revolutionize ADAS performance and safety," said Anand Gopalan, CTO at Velodyne. "Expanding our team to develop Vella is a giant step towards achieving our goal of mass producing an ADAS solution that dramatically improves roadway safety. Mapper technology gives us access to some key algorithmic elements and accelerates our development timeline. Together, our sensors and software will allow powerful lidar-based safety solutions to be available on every vehicle."
Velodyne was founded in 1983 as Velodyne Acoustics, making high-end audio speakers and subwoofers. Founder and CEO, David Hall, invented the company's real-time surround view lidar systems in 2005. Hall's lidar breakthrough revolutionized perception and autonomy for automotive, mapping, robotics, and security.
Velodyne spun off its lidar division as a separate company in 2016 called Velodyne Lidar. The company's lidar is being used by dozens of companies that are working on autonomous driving technology, including automaker Ford Motor Company.
Lidar, which is an acronym for "light detecting and ranging," has become an essential sensor in the development of driverless cars. Velodyne's commercial lidar sensors were used on the first self-driving cars developed by Google over a decade ago.
Lidar works by bouncing laser beams off objects and measuring the time it takes for the laser beams to reflect back to the sensor. This generates a lidar "point cloud" which can be used to create a 360 degree, 3D rendering of the environment around a vehicle.
Lidar can be used to detect objects such as nearby vehicles, trees, buildings, pedestrians and bicyclists. When combined with perception software, cameras and radar the lidar acts as the "eyes" of a self-driving car.
In addition to moving into ADAS, Velodyne will incorporate Mapper.ai's technology into lidar solutions for other applications, including autonomous vehicles, last-mile autonomous delivery services, security, smart cities, robotics, and drones.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
Tesla Challenger XPeng Reports Record July Deliveries, its 2nd Consecutive Month of Record-Setting Growth
Toyota to Offer New Replacement Parts for the Land Cruiser to Help Owners Keep Them on the Road
Tesla Agrees to Pay Model S Owners $1.5 Million For Reducing Battery Power in Their Vehicles
Tesla's Chinese Battery Supplier CATL Unveils a Sodium-ion Battery, a Major Breakthrough for EVs
LG Electronics & Magna International Finalize Agreement for New ePowertrain Joint Venture That’s Linked to the Secretive ‘Apple Car’ Project
Tesla is Moving its Retail Showrooms Out of Upscale Shopping Centers, According to Sources
Hyundai’s XCIENT Fuel Cell Trucks Hitting the Road in California in the Largest Deployment of the Technology in the U.S.
Lucid Motors Debuts on the Nasdaq and Raises $4.4 Billion as its Looks to Take on Tesla
- Ford Opens Registration Site for its New Lineup of E-Transit Commercial Electric Vans
- Ford’s Electrified Vehicle Sales Were Up 184% in May, F150-Lightning Reservations Reach 70,000
- General Motors, Shell Partner to Increase Charging Infrastructure
- Ford Expanding Electric Lineup With Explorer, Possibly Bronco
- Luxury-Electric Automaker Lucid Motors to Launch its Much-Anticipated IPO Next Week
- Hyundai Officially Launches the IONIQ 5 Electric Crossover With Up to 300 Miles of Range
- Tesla to Hold Off Buying Land to Expand its Shanghai Factory Due to Ongoing U.S.-China Tensions
- Ford Mustang Mach-E Helping Brand Reach New Buyers
- BMW Board Member Says the Automaker Intends to Cut Production Costs 25% by 2025
- BMW iVentures Invests in Silicon Valley-based Self-Driving Truck Startup Kodiak Robotics