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C4iSR: Air

Navy League 2016: Velodyne reveals new LIDAR 3-D sensors

16 May 2016
Velodyne's VLP-16 LITE 3-D sensors for aerial platforms. Source: Velodyne

Velodyne has unveiled two new LIDAR 3-D sensors in its Velodyne LIDAR Puck (VLP) product line: the VLP-16 LITE for unmanned aerial platforms and VLP-32 for unmanned terrestrial driving.

The company was essentially formed in response to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) autonomous vehicle challenges, and has produced and sold its Hi-Definition LIDAR (HDL) line of the HDL-64 and HDL-32, and the VLP-16.

The HDL-64 was among the first major spinning sensors and led what was then Team Digital Auto Drive to transform into a component supplier for other DARPA challenges and autonomous vehicle projects.

At Navy League's Sea-Air-Space conference, Velodyne revealed its VLP-16 LITE for aerial platforms. John Eggert, senior sales and marketing manager at Velodyne, told IHS Jane's the system drops about 30% from the original VLP-16's 830 g (1.8 lb) weight, down to 590 g. He said miniaturisation and new materials allow for the same capability at a lighter weight, meaning it can now be more easily integrated on aerial platforms.

Velodyne also announced its VLP-32, a smaller form factor that can 'see' out to 200 m, twice the distance as the original HDL-32. The longer range allows for higher velocity driving because it can see farther; this requires far more computing power but processors are increasingly able to keep up with more data, Eggert noted.

He said the eventual target cost is USD500, but that depends on order volumes (likely some commercial sales on top of military sales). The VLP-32's design is directly influenced by projected military requirements, Eggert added.

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