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Velodyne Lidar Leadership Spotlight: Erich Smidt
Apr 30, 2020 | By Velodyne Lidar

Erich Smidt is Executive Director Europe for Velodyne. He is a seasoned tech industry executive with 20+ years of experience working with sensing instrumentation in the autonomous solutions, aerospace, meteorological and mining industries. Prior to joining Velodyne in 2015 to lead operations in Europe, Erich worked for Teledyne, Trimble and companies in the Hexagon Group (Leica Geosystems and Guardvant).

Erich Smidt, Executive Director Europe for Velodyne Lidar
Erich Smidt, Executive Director Europe for Velodyne Lidar

Erich is responsible for Velodyne’s European operations covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), based in the Velodyne Europe GmbH office in Rüsselsheim, Germany (near Frankfurt am Main). Of course, Erich doesn’t do this alone and is very proud of the highly-qualified team he supports, consisting of technical sales, marketing, channel management and engineering staff.

Erich works very closely with the EMEA team helping customers find solutions for their lidar sensing needs.  Erich notes that it has been kind of crazy during these coronavirus times, but the team has done a great job supporting our customers while working from home.

Planting trees in a reforestation area near Erich's village in Germany; Erich working from home during the pandemic with Karma the cat
Planting trees in a reforestation area near Erich’s village in Germany; Erich working from home during the pandemic with Karma the cat

We checked in with Erich to learn more about Velodyne’s EMEA presence.

V: What are some of the leading lidar application areas in your markets?

ES: In the EMEA market, we have the full spectrum of lidar applications from autonomous warehouse trucks, such as forklifts and tugs, to GIS mapping. We also work with customers in ADAS, provide reference sensors for automotive OEMs and Tier 1s, and have a strong presence with autonomous shuttle leaders, such as NAVYA and EasyMile.

V: Can you share your vision for Velodyne in EMEA?

ES: My vision for Velodyne Europe is to continue the path I started almost five years ago for Velodyne Europe to become a recognized center of excellence for technical sales and service, supporting all the industries we serve. Velodyne is a leading technology company in the EMEA market, and we have the infrastructure to support our customers through all phases of their projects.

Erich Smidt's village Hofheim in autumn
Erich Smidt’s village Hofheim in autumn

V: What’s one “fun fact” that most people don’t know about Velodyne Europe?

ES: Velodyne Europe is located in the Rhein-Main area of Germany which is where the rivers Rhein and Main meet. The “fun fact” is that the area is actually known for its wine, which is surprising to people because they often associate only beer and Oktoberfest when thinking of Germany.

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

ES: When not traveling across Europe on Velodyne business, I enjoy spending time cooking (I make a killer Spinach Feta quiche!) and reading. I also enjoy spending time outdoors running, walking through the relaxing German countryside and woods. We like to do things in the community where we live. For example, planting trees in a reforestation area near our village. However, my favorite place when visiting the United States in summer is to be waterskiing at Lake Powell in Arizona. It is beautiful there and a great place to relax because there is no cell phone coverage. 😊

Erich Smidt enjoy what Lake Powell has to offer!
Erich Smidt enjoying what Lake Powell has to offer!

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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