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Velodyne Lidar Leadership Spotlight: Anand Gopalan
Feb 11, 2020 | By Velodyne Lidar

New CEO Anand Gopalan Shares His Vision for the Company, Customers and Employees

Anand Gopalan, CEO of Velodyne Lidar, standing in front of lidar sensor display at CES 2020
Anand Gopalan, CEO of Velodyne Lidar

Anand Gopalan was recently named the CEO at Velodyne Lidar. He assumed the position from Velodyne’s legendary founder David Hall, who continues as full-time Executive Chairman of the Board.

Anand, who joined Velodyne in 2016, is a distinguished engineer who is driven by a passion for building compelling products and taking them to market. Through his career, he has leveraged cutting-edge electrical engineering, built exceptional worldwide teams, and mentored and partnered with brilliant engineers. Under Anand’s leadership alongside Hall, Velodyne brought to market a series of breakthrough lidar products, including the recently launched Velabit.

We sat down with Anand to hear about his plans for Velodyne and its customers and staff.

V: You have been in your new role for a few weeks. How does it feel to be the CEO at Velodyne Lidar?

AG: I am grateful for the trust and confidence that David Hall and the rest of the Board have placed in me. Every day, I am impressed by the talent we have at Velodyne. I am excited to lead a company with such a great team and deep history in innovation. We have an awesome road ahead of us to help bring increased safety and autonomy to the world.

V: In your previous position as Velodyne CTO, you worked alongside David Hall on the company’s technological roadmap and strategic vision. How did working so closely with David help prepare you for the CEO role?

AG: I have been very fortunate to work so closely with David, a successful serial inventor and one of our industry’s pioneers. Through our work, I gained appreciation of David’s deep understanding about technology and our industry, and saw first-hand his incredible foresight on where our market is headed. I would like to think that some of that understanding has rubbed off on me. Also, another takeaway from working with David is the tenacity he brings to achieving product perfection to create transformative solutions that address real-world problems. As CTO, I often acted as “David’s Translator,” helping our research and development team convert David’s ideas into products for customers. It is my goal to build upon his knowledge and vision for the company.

V: As we look forward, what’s your vision of where you see Velodyne headed?

AG: We are a leader in our market, ready to drive the age of autonomy and to help make consumer-purchased vehicles safer. We will keep making revolutionary advancements so lidar becomes ubiquitous in the ever-expanding autonomous industry. We will continue to develop and refine our solutions to improve safety in consumer-purchased vehicles and bring them to market with OEMs and manufacturing partners.

While we have strong roots in automotive for ADAS and vehicle autonomy, we are also a recognized leader in many other markets including mapping, on-demand mobility, robotics, security, unmanned aerial vehicles and more.

On the business side, we have done the hard work in building manufacturing partnerships, with companies like Veoneer and Nikon. Our manufacturing processes have matured so we can bring on additional manufacturing lines.

Anand Gopalan Velodyne Lidar CEO at CES 2020 standing next to an Idriverplus Automated Street Sweeper

V: You have the reputation as an executive who listens closely to customers and keeps his finger on the pulse of industry trends. What’s your message to customers on what they can expect from Velodyne?

AG: We deeply care about our customers. We are committed to openness, flexibility and agility with them. We listen to and learn from our customers about their needs and adapt dynamically to the changing marketplace. We are strongly committed to partnering with them over the long term to help customers bring their products to market.

V: Velodyne employees are widely recognized as a talented team dedicated to advancing the company mission to deliver smart, powerful lidar solutions. How do you plan to build on company values like teamwork, collaboration and more at Velodyne?

AG: Velodyne is a growth company. We will continue to foster an environment where our employees can flourish personally and professionally. As a company, we rely on teamwork and collaboration to drive our overall success. A key step in achieving these goals is openness in communications. I will be transparent in all my interactions with employees, so everyone knows the direction of our company. Openness as we talk with one another must be an essential hallmark of how we do things at Velodyne.

V: Velodyne has started the year with the introduction of the Velabit, which garnered much industry acclaim and a CES presence where Velodyne was a “must see” company. What else can we expect to see from Velodyne moving forward?

AG: At CES, the introduction of the Velabit was seen as an industry game changer. We are excited about the Velabit as a product because we believe it will create many possibilities for new applications for lidar in a variety of industries.

We will continue to advance and refine our entire product portfolio. Keep an eye on our Vella software which we expect will deliver superior ADAS when compared to approaches that utilize only camera and radar technologies.

V: As we close out this interview, please share a little with us about your life outside Velodyne.

AG: I am a very proud father who enjoys every minute I get to spend with my family. I have two children, a six-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy. My daughter has started playing soccer and I love watching her games. Recently, our family visited the Disneyland resort, where I got to enjoy one of my favorite things to do at California Adventure Park – being a rollercoaster aficionado. I also love a good glass of Pinot Noir and even though I don’t consider myself to be, some of my friends call me a “wine snoot.”

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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