Bringing Autonomous Boats to Life: Velodyne Supports the Next Generation of AV Developers With RoboNation Sponsorship

Velodyne LiDAR has partnered with RoboNation, donating skills, guidance, and sensors to this visionary non-profit organization and the engineers of tomorrow

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–At RoboNation’s 11th International RoboBoat Competition in June 2018 in South Daytona, Fla., the AUVSI-backed organization announced its new sponsor partnership with Velodyne LiDAR. As part of this sponsorship, Velodyne will offer support, mentorship, and a donation of Velodyne LiDAR VLP-16 sensors for use in future research, and competition. RoboNation is a traditional non-profit organization that seeks to inspire students to use Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to learn about the wider world.

Velodyne’s VLP-16 sits proudly as part of the array on this competitor’s AV boat.

“Velodyne is thrilled to support the work being done by RoboNation and the teams competing in these events,” said Velodyne LiDAR’s President and CCO, Mike Jellen. “The remarkable achievements of these budding engineers demonstrate that with a combination of cooperation, ingenuity, and industry-leading technology, anything is possible.”

RoboNation invited 14 teams from all over the world to participate in the RoboBoat Competition. These teams built their vehicles from the ground up, with manufacturing and design considerations included in the creation of a completely autonomous boat. After integrating all the sensors and systems, the RoboBoat competition offered students a chance to have their vehicle navigate and race through an aquatic obstacle course. Among the sensors that allow for this autonomous operation is the state-of-the-art LiDAR technology from Velodyne.

A RoboBoat team gingerly lowers their AV boat into the water.

“The RoboBoat competition gives students the hands-on opportunity to apply their classroom learnings in a real-world application,” said RoboNation’s Robotic Programs Director Hitesh Patel. “In this particular instance, the competition is a systems engineering challenge, with a focus on hull form and propulsion efficiency. To empower the next generation of pioneers and innovators, competition tasks mimic ongoing research efforts including coastal mapping, port security and other similar oceanographic operations. By challenging young engineers to solve such complex problems, RoboBoat holds the potential to shape the future of maritime industry.”

A RoboBoat team watches progress from the shoreline.

RoboNation manages collegiate programs, including aerial, ground and water-based competitions. With a philosophy of Build a Bot, Change the World, RoboNation brings students together in friendly competition with their own custom-made autonomous vehicles. In December 2018 RoboNation’s RobotX Maritime Challenge in Hawaii will test larger teams in even larger boats in open water.

About RoboNation

RoboNation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a pathway of hands-on educational experiences that empower students to find innovative solutions to global challenges. We envision a world where technology unites people to learn, share and create. RoboNation reaches all levels of robotics by offering a wide range of educational and interactive opportunities. From hands-on educational programs to multi-disciplinary robotics competitions, students create and experiment while learning; they wonder what is possible, and test the limits of the imagination.

For more information, visit http://www.robonation.org.

About Velodyne LiDAR

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, Velodyne is a technology company known worldwide for its real-time 3D LiDAR computing and software platforms. Velodyne LiDAR Inc. emerged in 2005 as the unmatched market leader of real-time 3D vision systems used in a variety of commercial applications including autonomous vehicles, vehicle safety systems, mobile mapping, aerial mapping, and security. Its products range from the high-performance, surround view Ultra-Puck™ VLP-32, classic HDL-32/64, cost-effective VLP-16, the newly released VLS-128, to the upcoming, hidden Velarray™. Velodyne’s rich suite of perception software and algorithms are the key enablers of its perception systems. Velodyne supports customers from offices in San Jose, Detroit, Frankfurt, and Beijing.

For more information, visit http://www.velodynelidar.com.

Contacts

RoboNation media contact:
Julianna Smith
jsmith@robonation.org
or
Velodyne LiDAR media contact:
Cesar Alejandro Montero
cmontero@velodyne.com

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