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Twelve years of innovation and Velodyne Lidar is just getting warmed up
Jul 14, 2021 | By Velodyne Lidar

Working with our customers developing lidar solutions keeps us motivated and innovative 

Velodyne has been leading the way in the lidar industry for over a decade. Our revolutionary sensor and software solutions are uniquely suited to deliver flexibility, quality and performance to meet the needs of a wide range of applications. Velodyne’s lidar solutions cover almost everything, including advanced driver-assistance systems, autonomous vehicles, robotics, smart cities, delivery, industrial and more.  

“There’s a way to do it better - find it.”  Thomas Edison

We build these lidar solutions by listening to customers and analyzing trends and market opportunities to help guide our product roadmap. Velodyne understands, monitors and deploys all laser, detector and signal processing technologies based on the specific application requirements and the maturity of the technology for our sensors. Combining a deep understanding of our customers’ needs with continuous innovation enables Velodyne to introduce new and enhanced lidar solutions on an ongoing basis. 

Velodyne Lidar Sensors: Velarray H800, Alpha Prime, Velarray M1600
Velodyne Lidar sensors: Velarray H800, Alpha Prime, Velarray M1600

Get to know these acronyms a little better: MLA, ASIC and TROSA 

Velodyne is focused on delivering lidar sensors that are more compact, higher performing, best in class in power consumption and lower priced than the competition. Here’s how we work to achieve these objectives with our new, next-generation sensors. 

We have developed miniaturized technology for advanced sensor manufacturing. Our Velarray sensors use Transmit Receive Optical Sub Assemblies (TROSA), featuring Velodyne’s groundbreaking optical chip technology, with eight lidar channels miniaturized to the size of a penny.  

The TROSA brings together the core elements that make our lidar work: the optical chip and Velodyne’s application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) technology. The miniaturization, combined with Velodyne’s fully-automated manufacturing process, enables cost-effective, high-quality mass production. 

Using our proprietary ASICs simplifies electrical circuitry, especially by lowering the number of components used in each sensor. We tailor our ASICs to the needs of our sensors. This approach enables us to better optimize sensor performance, particularly in the areas of accuracy, precision and range, than we would be able to do with off-the-shelf ICs. We also built signal processing into our ASICs, which further boosts performance.

While interference is primarily handled by our proprietary signal filter, the ASIC system pushes the false positive rate down another 2 orders of magnitude and allows simultaneous firing of channels without internal interference. Reducing interference allows an increase in firing rate, which increases points per second and improves resolution, all while maintaining data integrity. 

Our proprietary Micro Lidar Array (MLA) can combine multiple TROSAs so we can configure sensors to the form factor needed for specific applications. As the “core engine” of our lidar sensors, the MLA approach also enables us to reduce size and weight. We have implemented the MLA across multiple products, bringing down production costs even further through economies of scale. 

With the combination of technological improvements found in the ASICs, TROSA and MLA, we are able to improve range by a factor of 2 to 3 over previous generations. Furthermore, advances in laser diode technology are driving reduction in laser spot size in the next generation systems, improving the sharpness of objects and detection of smaller objects at longer distances. 

Velodyne Lidar solid state lidar point cloud on a highway
Velodyne Lidar solid state lidar point cloud on a highway

Scalable architecture for every customer’s needs 

Velodyne has the unique advantage of being the player in the lidar industry who is diversified across the entire supply chain. We have strong connections with suppliers for the industry, both those that provide us the materials for our products and those that enable us to manufacture at scale.  

Our proprietary automated manufacturing processes and mass manufacturing partnerships enable delivery of lidar technology at scale. Manufacturing automation has allowed us to simplify production processes such as automatic aligning, placement and bonding. By taking this approach, we have adopted methods similar to the mature, high-volume semiconductor and communications systems industries.  

Velodyne’s proprietary automated manufacturing processes and mass manufacturing partnerships enable delivery of lidar technology at scale.

We have formed powerful global partnerships with production experts, including Nikon and Fabrinet. These relationships are helping us to drive down costs, provide the highest quality materials and deliver manufacturing innovations.  

With our extensive technological experience and knowledge of customers, use cases and markets, Velodyne is the established leader and unstoppable innovator in lidar. You will see more sensor and software solutions being introduced in coming years. Watch this space! 

About Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne Lidar (Nasdaq: VLDR, VLDRW) ushered in a new era of autonomous technology with the invention of real-time surround view lidar sensors. Velodyne, the global leader in lidar, is known for its broad portfolio of breakthrough lidar technologies. Velodyne’s revolutionary sensor and software solutions provide flexibility, quality and performance to meet the needs of a wide range of industries, including autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), smart cities and security. Through continuous innovation, Velodyne strives to transform lives and communities by advancing safer mobility for all.

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