Velodyne Lidar Megafactory will Produce Over a Million Units a Year

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Velodyne Lidar has been busy lately. Since releasing the $8k VLP-16 puck lidar, the company has adapted the sensor for autonomous vehicles, UAVs, and hi-res jobs. It has also gone big on SLAM, landed $150 million in funding from Ford and Baidu, and announced a $50 solid-state lidar chip that could bring down the cost of every lidar sensor in the portfolio.

Moves like these require changes behind the scenes. Why? Solid-state lidar, which is integrated onto a a microchip, requires specialized facilities to produce. On top of that, auto manufacturers buy sensors at a much larger scale than geospatial customers—in the millions rather than the low thousands. This means Velodyne had to make a big manufacturing change.

Yesterday it announced the opening of a new megafactory in San Jose, California, for high-volume production. According to the company, the factory is already manufacturing the HDL-64 lidar sensor popular with autonomous vehicle researchers and ramping up production for the rest of the sensor portfolio.

By 2018 the factory is expected to put out over a million sensors a year. This volume should meet demand for the company’s autonomous vehicle sensors.

Velodyne has also opened a new research and development facility in Alameda, California called Velodyne Labs. This facility will develop the next-generation lidar sensors for the company, including a number of solutions built around the company’s new solid-state chip.

With the new megafactory and R&D facility, Velodyne is positioned to make good on its promise to use solid-state technology as “a path to lower prices for all lidar products,” and maybe even produce a solid-state puck.

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About Author

SPAR 3D Editor Sean Higgins produces SPAR 3D's weekly newsletters for 3D-scanning professionals, and spar3d.com. Sean has previously worked as a technical writer, a researcher, a freelance technology writer, and an editor for various arts publications. He has degrees from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, where he studied the history of sound-recording technologies. Sean is a native of Maine and lives in Portland.

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