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Robots Supporting COVID-19 Response and Public Health
May 05, 2020 | By Marta Hall, CMO

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving healthcare and business to search for new ways to provide needed services while also keeping workers and the public safe from infectious disease.

Knightscope K3 Indoor Autonomous Security Robot, Powered by Velodyne lidar
Knightscope K3 Indoor Autonomous Robot, powered by Velodyne lidar

Powered by lidar for safe perception and navigation, autonomous mobile robots are equipped to provide crucial support in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Automating tasks to reduce human exposure to contagions can enable essential services to be performed, advance safety for frontline workers and improve the efficiency with which many services can be completed.

Velodyne Lidar Inc. has been forming partnerships in recent weeks with customers who have applications that can help in the pandemic. We are working at a rapid pace to build friendships and interesting relationships, developing a coalition of technologists who want to help the world. Our partners and customers use Velodyne lidar to safely navigate robots and vehicles with missions that, in our current situation, may be lifesaving.

There are many useful ways lidar and automated technology can help. For example, autonomous and tele-operated shuttles can move health workers and first responders through contaminated zones, plus deliver medical supplies, equipment and food. Touchless delivery promotes sanitation, especially for those most at risk.

Local Motors Olli shuttle, utilizing Velodyne lidar solutions
Local Motors Olli shuttle, utilizing Velodyne lidar solutions

These autonomous services help preserve social distancing, enable less human contact while providing high-quality delivery of sensitive goods and allow essential services to be maintained while a workforce is strained or incapacitated. Robots can also help vulnerable populations receive goods without exposure from others.

Another area where robots can provide valuable service is to work alone or alongside a technician in public spaces to monitor and combat COVID-19. Smart security systems can provide temperature detection in a crowd. Robots are excellent at moving around contaminated facilities to disinfect and take the virus load down, not just in hospitals but in schools, offices and more.

If the pandemic is going to come, go, then come again, it makes sense we need technology that promotes public safety through sanitation. At Velodyne, we are enabling high-tech disinfection services. We are building partnerships with UV light scientists and our customers who make robots that can disinfect. Velodyne is providing various size options for sensors to allow for potential disinfection for inside buildings, outdoor plazas and more to address the pandemic.

We have more partners, a consortium of good intentioned customers. It is exciting and rewarding to work on projects which address so many essential services that may help people while sheltering in place.

About Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne provides smart, powerful lidar solutions for autonomy and driver assistance. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Velodyne is known worldwide for its portfolio of breakthrough lidar sensor technologies. Velodyne’s Founder, David Hall, invented real-time surround view lidar systems in 2005 as part of Velodyne Acoustics. Mr. Hall’s invention revolutionized perception and autonomy for automotive, new mobility, mapping, robotics, and security. Velodyne’s high-performance product line includes a broad range of sensing solutions, including the cost-effective Puck™, the versatile Ultra Puck™, the autonomy-advancing Alpha Prime™, the ADAS-optimized Velarray™ and the groundbreaking software for driver assistance, Vella™.

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