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New Vella Development Kit Release Delivers Ability to Use Low-powered ARM-based Jetson AGX Xavier
Dec 17, 2021 | By Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne Lidar has delivered a new release of our Vella Development Kit (VDK) that simplifies building autonomous solutions.

Nvidia Jetson AGX Xavier Developer Kit
Nvidia Jetson AGX Xavier Developer Kit

The VDK provides access to our breakthrough Vella perception software, paired with our world-class lidar sensors. The software toolkit demonstrates Velodyne’s software capabilities, allowing customers to plug in our lidar with an off-the-shelf library of functions.

The VDK advances solution development and accelerates time to market for bringing cutting-edge lidar capabilities to autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), mobile delivery devices, industrial robotics, drones and more.

Since its introduction, customers have used the VDK for short-range pedestrian detection, cross-reference and fusion with camera-based perception for ADAS applications, collision avoidance for industrial applications and more.

New VDK Features

Included among the new VDK features are:

  • Support for Advanced RISC Machine (ARM)-based hardware, specifically the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier AGX module. The NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier module provides unparalleled computing power of a GPU workstation in a compact, energy-efficient module. The module enables some VDK algorithms to run at a reduced frame rate and processes lidar frames in real time to detect, classify and extract objects.

Most of our robotics and automotive customers are targeting ARM-based platforms along with a low-powered graphical processing unit (GPU) due to the smaller form factor as well as low power requirements. With VDK support on AGX, customers can directly integrate Velodyne’s lidar perception in their applications now on smaller platforms such as industrial automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). It’s challenging to maintain high accuracy and fidelity of different capabilities while optimizing the run-time performance on lower powered devices. With continuous optimizations of our algorithms, VDK in the coming releases will be supported on additional low-powered compute platforms.

Example of VDK's high-quality 3D renderings
Example of VDK’s high-quality 3D renderings
  • An improved graphical user interface (GUI) with enhanced user options to visualize VDK results in real time. This version of the VDK has a fully revised GUI with better quality 3D renderings, smooth control to manipulate views in 3D, and users can choose from present viewpoints such as front or top view. The GUI presents multiple options via menus, shows the speed/turning of the platform, and is very lightweight yet powerful. This improved GUI helps users to easily understand the 3D scene as well as the performance of the VDK capabilities in cases hard to visualize such as occlusion and far-field.    
  • Benchmark results are now available by customer request. In order to provide a performance metric to our users, we have compiled datasets in multiple environments from controlled scenes such as driving tracks to high-speed traffic on highways to super crowded urban centers. This dataset provides far more different scenarios than some of the existing public datasets such as NuScenes and KITTI. While they are popular datasets, they are limited in variety and range, and  were collected using Velodyne’s rotational sensors, not our directional sensors. With these benchmark results, users are able to get an understanding of the performance expectations from VDK and hence can design their applications around these performance metrics.
  • Time synchronization using the Precision Time Protocol (PTP). Most of our customers are using multiple sensors such as GPS, IMU, cameras, radars and lidars for their use-cases. One of the most crucial requirements is to time synchronize the data from all of these sensors. Recently, Velodyne sensors have started supporting PTP for time-stamping the points with a master clock which helps synchronize the sensor, and hence VDK outputs, with other sensors. With our future releases, we will be providing cross-sensor perception capabilities.
VDK team at work
VDK Team at work

The new release of the VDK further demonstrates our commitment to supporting customers through the entire autonomous solution development lifecycle, from testing and evaluating sensors, to building initial proofs of concept, to demonstrating complete applications. It also shows how we are continuing to enhance to the VDK so developers and integrators have ongoing access to Velodyne innovations.

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, a 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 robotics, industrial, intelligent infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Through continuous innovation, Velodyne strives to transform lives and communities by advancing safer mobility for all.

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