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Velodyne Lidar Leadership Spotlight: Arun Vaidyanath
Apr 08, 2020 | By Velodyne Lidar

Arun Vaidyanath recently joined Velodyne as Senior Vice President, Engineering, responsible for delivering automotive-grade lidar products to market. Arun has over 25 years of experience in system and semiconductor companies, having driven strategy and led global teams with proven execution and delivery of advanced products to blue-chip customers.

Headshot of Arun Vaidyanath, Senior Vice President Engineering, Velodyne Lidar, Inc.
Arun Vaidyanath, Senior Vice President Engineering, Velodyne Lidar, Inc.

Arun’s team is responsible for hardware product development, sustaining engineering, and product test engineering. His working style is collaborative and his communication style is direct. Arun’s personal motivation is to build game-changing products that will drive exceptional customer experience.

When not working hard to understand lidar, Arun enjoys traveling and backpacking with his family, wife and son. Arun also enjoys reading, or more accurately, listening to audio books.

We checked in with Arun to hear about his aims and ambitions at Velodyne.

Arun Vaidyanath, SVP Engineering for Velodyne, at Schönbrunn Palace, Austria

V: Welcome to Velodyne, Arun. Why did you decide to join the company?

AV: I first heard of Velodyne Acoustics over 20 years ago and their most advanced home theater sound products. I could not afford them back then, but I was impressed by the level of innovation and commitment to delivering high-end solutions. During my early days at Rambus, we were driven by similar ideals – to deliver cutting-edge solutions through revolutionary innovation. I have been following Velodyne’s transition to lidar and their leadership through innovation. Anand and I have worked together in the past, so when he talked to me about the company and the opportunity, the decision was relatively easy.

V: What’s the typical “day in the life” of an Engineering Leader?

AV: With the charter to transform our innovations and prototypes to automotive grade products, I approach each day with the goal to transform the organization to successfully achieve our strategic objectives. I organize my week, focusing early on program status reviews, deliverables and customer communications; later in the week, I focus on strategy and long-term execution planning. In my experience, effective communications can mitigate and even avoid issues and I am a big believer in direct, frequent and open communications. I dedicate time to have regular 1:1 with direct staff and skip level employees and key external stakeholders. I also participate in customer meetings and hope to meet directly with our customers to effectively communicate our commitment to excellent execution.

V: What are your initial thoughts on Velodyne’s lidar portfolio?

AV: Velodyne is clearly a leader in the lidar space. The rotational products offer phenomenal performance and are broadly recognized as a leading solution in the market. The Velarray directional lidar offers exceptional value while meeting and enhancing ADAS solutions for OEMs. I am also extremely excited about the advanced development products coming from David Hall and the CTO office which will continue to drive the roadmap and define the future of lidar technology as a whole. The Vella software is also a game changer in the value it adds to our strong hardware portfolio.

Ostrich feeding in Solvang, CA

V: Can you share your vision for the Engineering Department?

AV: The engineering teams have demonstrated technical strength, innovation and teamwork. For continued growth and to maintain and enhance a leading position in the lidar market, we will build on this foundation. We will continue driving innovations in the lidar space and transition our innovations to robust products which I am sure will delight our customers. Between the CTO office and the engineering organization, I would like to define a solid engineering roadmap, clear roles and responsibilities, drive greater ownership and accountability, and build the next level of leadership in order to scale the organization to deliver to the anticipated growth. Through continued execution, I am identifying gaps in our capabilities and processes which may lead to longer term vulnerability if not addressed proactively and swiftly. Finally, engineering is about quality and commitment – to do this effectively, I have to build clear channels of communication with the commercial and operations teams.

Arun visiting the pyramids in Egypt!

V: Please share a little about your life outside the work world.

AV: My wife and I are proud parents of our son who is a junior in high school and has just transitioned from being thrilled to be home when the schools closed to chomping at the bit to returning to his friends. My wife is an avid travel planner and we have made a lot of great trips around the world with our immediate families and friends. I love the outdoors and spend a lot of my short, free time (i.e. weekends) hiking, camping and backpacking in the Sierras during the summers. I never quite got my wife into backpacking, but I am hopeful to do more trips with my son who thoroughly enjoys it. I enjoy reading and I am now into audible books, which allows me to multitask reading and outdoor running and hiking.

Arun with his son backpacking at Camp Lake, Stanislaus National Forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California

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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