Velodyne Champions AV Community to Advance Lidar Sensor Testing and Validation

Marta Hall, President and CBDO of Velodyne Lidar at CES 2019

Velodyne is taking a leadership role in advocating for autonomous vehicle (AV) community cooperation in addressing safety and standardization requirements for lidar sensors.

Leading the initiative is Dr. Mircea Gradu, Velodyne’s Sr. Vice President Quality and Validation, who has proposed the AV community work together in a non-competitive way to identify requirements and methods for lidar sensor testing and validation. The goal is to create a repository of sensor validation items that can become an industry standard, available to every company in the industry.

Mircea Gradu and Aaron Sokoll of Velodyne Lidar

As a distinguished engineer who is an Officer and the 2018 President of SAE International, Gradu has extensive experience in working across the automotive industry. He kicked off the initiative during a featured presentation at the recent International VDI Conference – Automotive Sensor Systems in Munich, saying “companies in the autonomous space need to work together – just as companies in the aerospace industry cooperate on safety issues – in order to ensure the safe launch of AVs.”

“With the AV industry in a nascent stage, now is the time to support the development and testing efforts of automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers by deepening understanding of lidar and applying rigor into sensor validation,” says Gradu.

Gradu adds, “Today, there is too much misleading information about the precision, accuracy, and range of lidar sensors. To be of value to automakers, all lidar sensors need to be assessed by the same gauge. Lidar companies must be ambassadors of the AV safety message by promoting transparency.”

Velodyne envisions the community pulling together to identify lidar requirements and standardize how to address them. The goal is to have lidar products undergo testing and validation based on the standards early in their product lifecycle with the results available to automakers and Tier 1 suppliers.

The Alpha Puck, Velarray, and VelaDome by Velodyne Lidar

Several of the participants at the VDI Conference in Munich, including OEMs and Tier 1s, are enlisting their teams to join the efforts toward the standardization of the test and validation protocols for AVs at the complete vehicle system, sub-system, and component levels. The SAE International sponsored Edge Report on “Unsettled Topics Concerning Sensors for Automated Road Vehicles” provides an excellent summary of topics the AV community plans to address in an expedited manner.

“Velodyne is committed to fostering an industry learning experience in sensor testing and validation, especially in addressing corner cases that present high safety risk,” says Gradu.

Challenge cases, such as a high-speed merge onto a highway or navigating a T-Junction road, present elevated safety risks in autonomous driving. The AV community needs to work together to create specialized tests and validation cases that establish standard ways to determine whether lidar sensors can address these safety challenges.

Spearheading this initiative, Velodyne brings more than a decade of experience in the manufacturing and validation of lidar sensors that support the stringent safety and reliability requirements of automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. The company has extensive in-house validation capabilities and a network of external labs. It also has knowledge from millions of road miles driven by its automotive, technology, and commercial vehicle customers.

“As an industry, we have much to learn from each other. Every complex driving circumstance and each autonomous driving system has discrete needs and nuances. By working together, we can prove to customers that lidar sensors meet the stringent safety, performance, and reliability requirements for vehicle autonomy and advanced driver assistance systems,” comments Gradu.

For more on Velodyne Lidar sensors, click HERE

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