Tuesday, January 07, 2020

LiDAR News: Velodyne, Luminar, Innovusion, Insight, Outsight, Baraja, Ouster, Sony, Mobileye

BusinessWire: Velodyne announces Anand Gopalan as its new CEO. Gopalan, who previously was Velodyne’s CTO, assumes the position from Velodyne’s legendary founder David Hall. Hall will continue as full-time Chairman of the Board and remain actively involved in directing the company’s technology, product vision and business strategy.

David Hall is more than the founder of Velodyne, he is also the founder of our industry. I am grateful for the trust he has placed in me and excited to lead a company with such a deep history in innovation as Velodyne. We are the forefront of our market, ready to drive the age of autonomy. Velodyne is bringing improved mobility and safety through versatility, responsiveness and agility,” said Gopalan.

BusinessWire: Luminar attempts to switch to a recurring revenue model. The company introduces Hydra Perception Compute Unit (PCU) reference design powered by the NVIDIA Xavier SoC. This solution is said to substantially shorten the industry timelines, enabling autonomy to be commercialized in production in 2022.

Hydra begins shipping this quarter and is available through a new subscription model -- the first of its kind for LiDAR. With the release of Hydra, Luminar has transitioned its core business from selling sensors to a subscription-based service for its autonomous vehicle development partners that enables a deeper integration throughout development cycles, increasing development speed as well as enabling more focused feature development.

Luminar LiDAR is now the established industry gold standard for performance and safety, and the perfect platform to enable the dramatic software and perception improvements required for automakers to transition from test vehicles to commercial autonomy,” said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO, Luminar. “We’ve been quietly developing Hydra, the most advanced 3D perception system in the industry, for over three years now and it’s time for our 40 partners and the rest of the world to see it.

Hydra is an integrated product of three key self-driving technologies:
  • Luminar’s LiDAR, built from the chip-level up;
  • Luminar’s new software suite, built and optimized specifically for Luminar LiDAR;
  • Luminar’s new perception computer, a reference design built on the NVIDIA Xavier SoC

BusinessWire: Innovusion announces Falcon long-range LiDAR. With a vertical and horizontal resolution of 0.07 degrees at 10 fps and a FoV of 110 degrees x 30 degrees, Falcon reaches a range of 120 meters on pedestrians for the entire 110-degree FoV.

In the last year, there has been an industry-wide delay in roadmaps for the deployment of Level 4 autonomous driving while driver assistance technology has become more prevalent. There are still gaps in autonomous system performance and the disengagement is still too high,” said Ian Zhu, Managing Partner at NIO Capital. “We are confident that with the release of Falcon, Innovusion is enabling the automotive industry to take the necessary steps towards LiDAR adoption for the greater market, whether that is in self-driving cars or otherwise.

BusinessWire: Insight LiDAR announced its Digital Coherent LiDAR, an ultra-high resolution, long-range LiDAR sensor targeted at the emerging autonomous vehicle (AV) market. Among the breakthroughs built into Digital Coherent LiDAR are:

  • Long Range – 200 meters to 10 percent reflectivity targets
  • Ultra-High resolution – up to 0.025 x 0.025 degrees
  • Large Field of View – 120 x 340 degrees
  • Direct Doppler velocity in every pixel
  • True solid-state, flexible fast-axis scanning
  • Complete immunity from sunlight and other lidar
  • Low-cost chip scale, all-semiconductor approach

Insight LiDAR’s patent portfolio covers not only the design and control of the laser source, critical for the FMCW detection technique, but also includes key system IP enabling Insight’s high-resolution, foveation, large field of view and long-range performance.

LaTribune: As reported earlier, Outsight raises its seed $20M investment for development of hyperspectral LiDAR that analyses the object material simultaneously with distance. The production model is expected to be completed by 2021.

BusinessWire: Baraja, developer of Spectrum-Scan LiDAR, unveils its sensing platform with inherent interference immunity. Baraja LiDAR is said to be the only system available today using randomly modulated continuous wave, technology that completely blocks interference from other LiDARs and environmental light sources.

Sensor interference is one of the leading causes of disengagements for autonomous vehicles today and the issue will only continue to grow as more LiDAR-equipped vehicles hit the road,” said Baraja Co-Founder and CEO, Federico Collarte. “Interference risks leaving the vehicle with blind-spots, and driving blind is obviously unacceptable. Our experience developing technology in the telecom industry uniquely positions Baraja to address the problem of interference by encoding the light transmitted by our laser, using the same mature, volume-produced components that encode information for interference-free communications.

Interference occurs when a LiDAR transmits laser light and picks up another source of light, from a different laser or environmental source, like bright sunlight, creating errors and uncertainty that manifest as vehicle blind spots. Today, this situation triggers the autonomous technology to disengage and hand over to the safe driver.

Baraja is addressing interference at the sensor level with its Spectrum-Scan technology, which forms the basis of its sensing platform. Spectrum-Scan works by rapidly switching the laser’s wavelength and transmitting light through a prism, which diffracts each color of light in a different direction. When the light returns to the sensor, it is only processed if wavelength, angle, timing and encoding matches on all signals, insuring immunity to interference. Baraja’s LiDAR operates at 1550 nm and exceeds the industry long-range sensing requirement of detecting a 10% reflectivity objects at more than 200m.

BusinessWire: Ouster introduces the ultra-wide 90-deg FoV OS0-128 LiDAR. “High-resolution perception has always been reserved for expensive, long-range applications. That’s finally beginning to change,” said Angus Pacala, CEO and co-founder of Ouster. “With Ouster’s full range of 128-channel sensors, we have a complete high-resolution sensor suite for every application, and for short-range applications, the OS0-128 is in a class of its own.

The OS0 and OS2 series offer a full range of resolution options, with the OS0 available with 32 or 128 channels, while the OS2 is available in 32, 64, and 128 configurations. The OS0-32 is priced at $6,000 and the OS0-128 at $18,000. The OS2-32 is priced at $16,000, the OS2-64 at $20,000 and the OS2-128 at $24,000.

: Sony is to demo its "Solid State LiDAR which uses highly accurate distance measurement to gain a precise 3D grasp of real-life spaces" this week at CES.

Meanwhile, Intel Mobileye presents VIDAR - LiDAR functionality with cameras only. The name VIDAR has been coined by academic cycles:

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