A new low-power, long-range, high-resolution, and small-size lidar sensor is in the works by Cepton Technologies: the Vista lidar.
Since its inception in 2016, Cepton has been working on providing low-cost & high-performance solutions for automotive, industrial, and mapping applications. Last year, the company showed its intent to be the only company in the industry to ship lidar sensors directly to customers. Over the past 20 months, Cepton launched the HR-80 series, and announced the SORA 200 for UAVs. In February 2018, we had the chance to interview Wei Wei, Cepton’s director of business development, to talk about the SORA 200.
The Vista lidar, announced at the 2018 NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, is Cepton’s fourth and newest addition. It is intended to be a cost-effective solution for those who pursue all levels of autonomous driving, active safety, or mapping applications. The 120-line scanner delivers 200 meters of range, 0.2 degrees of spatial resolution, and consumes less than 10 watts of power. Cepton explains that the sensor “consist[s]only of high maturity automotive components for expedited automotive grade certification” and features Cepton’s patented micro-motion technology (MMT) platform, no rotational or frictional parts, and is significantly smaller than most solutions in the market. This means automakers can “seamlessly integrate lidar technology into the vehicle body”.
Additionally, Cepton’s partnership with NVIDIA opens up the possibility of using the NVIDIA DRIVE platform for advanced processing of Cepton’s lidar data. This AI supercomputer combines deep learning and sensor fusion to accurately paint a full, 360-degree environment representing dynamic and static objects encompassing the vehicle.
“Automotive lidar like Cepton’s is a key sensing technology to enable self-driving efforts, said Glenn Schuster, senior director, technical marketing, NVIDIA. “Lidar generates a massive amount of data and needs the computer horsepower of an AI supercomputer to understand what is around the vehicle.”
The Vista LiDAR samples are available today for Cepton’s automotive partners, while automated production at scale will start in Q2, 2018.