Israel: Pushing technology and innovation to the next level, LiDAR manufacturer, Velodyne has recently announced its latest product, the VLS-128. According to the company, it is the most powerful LiDAR developed by Velodyne so far, which is capable of providing twice the range and three times the resolution of its predecessor. “This product was designed and built for the level 5, fully autonomous, mobility as a service market,” says Anand Gopalan, the company’s CTO, meaning it can perform as well or better than a human under any circumstances.
To illustrate the capabilities of the device, Gopalan gives an example of a particularly challenging situation. “There is a small black object far out in front of you. Is it a piece of paper, a butterfly, or some tire debris? The autonomous vehicle needs to be able to see this object and make a decision about whether it should change lanes or break, and then take action. Traveling at 70 miles per hour, you have precious little time to do this.”
According to him, the VLS-128 can handle this sort of edge case. A very sophisticated sensor, the VLS-128 packs more range and resolution, while simultaneously reducing the size, weight, and power consumption. Its 300 meter range and incredible detail are one part of the equation. But it also works for tricky scenarios like tire debris because it allows an autonomous driving system to take fewer steps between seeing the world and deciding what to do.
An important underlining fact here is where some automakers are working on building their own LiDAR in-house, most are turning to suppliers like Velodyne as they look to build driverless car services that would compete with the likes of Waymo and Uber. The most important sensor in most self-driving cars these days is LiDAR, a laser scanner that can provide a 360-degree view of what’s happening around the vehicle.