Velodyne has released preliminary details about a new solid-state lidar sensor for autonomous vehicles. The Velarray sensor will be ready for customer demonstration by the end of this summer, with engineering units available before the end of the year, and production commencing in 2018.
As for specs, the sensor is designed to be “cost-effective yet high performance.” At 125mm x 50mm x 55mm, it is small enough to be embedded in the front, side, or rear of an automobile. It offers a 120-degree horizontal field of view from a fixed laser, and a 200-meter range even for low-reflectivity objects.
Though the Velarray sensor is intended for the automotive industry, its forthcoming release is good news for the company’s customers in other industries.
Predicting high demand for automotive lidar sensors, Velodyne opened a megafactory in January that will manufacture over a million solid-state units a year. By producing at this scale, Velodyne will bring down the cost of each unit. Since Velodyne has plans to incorporate the solid-state sensors into other lidar products, that means lower prices for Velodyne products across the board.
When Velodyne originally announced their new solid-state lidar technology, VP of Research and Development Anand Gopalan told SPAR 3D that the company “has plans to integrate the technology into their existing Puck form factor as well as non-rotating solid-state products.”.