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Bringing Autonomous Vessels to Open Water: Velodyne Lidar Supports the Next Generation of AV Developers in Maritime RobotX Challenge
Jan 30, 2019 | By ALBIE JARVIS

Velodyne Sponsorship of RoboNation Brings State-of-the-Art Lidar Technology and Skills to Future Engineers

Through the Maritime RobotX Challenge, next-generation engineers learn how Velodyne lidar 3D perception empowers autonomous vessels.

At the 2018 Maritime RobotX Challenge, Velodyne Lidar, Inc. contributed mentorship and lidar sensors to 15 university teams competing in an autonomous maritime competition. Held in Honolulu, Hawaii in December 2018, RobotX brought together teams from universities in the United States, Australia, China, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore.

“It is a privilege to work with these remarkable students as they reinvent maritime technology.”

Participating teams built their vessels from the ground up, equipping them with propulsion, sensor, and control systems. Velodyne’s Puck™ and Ultra Puck™ lidar sensors were the key perception components enabling the vessels to operate autonomously.

 


Velodyne’s Puck™ and Ultra Puck™ (shown here) lidar sensors were the key perception components enabling the vessels to operate autonomously at the Maritime RobotX Challenge.

During the competition, the teams’ autonomous boats demonstrated navigation and control, obstacle avoidance, location and sequence, identification and docking, detection and delivery, underwater recovery, and situational awareness. Each team created a website, technical design paper, presentation, and video to showcase their work.

National University of Singapore was awarded the competition’s top prize, while Australia’s Queensland University of Technology finished second, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., placed third.

“Through the Maritime RobotX Challenge, next-generation engineers learn how lidar 3D perception empowers autonomous vessels,” said Mike Jellen, President and Chief Commercial Officer, Velodyne Lidar. “It is a privilege to work with these remarkable students as they reinvent maritime technology.”

RobotX is an international, university-level competition designed to broaden student exposure to autonomous vehicle (AV) and robotic technologies in the maritime environment. The event was organized by RoboNation, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower students to use Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) to learn about the wider world. Velodyne is a RoboNation sponsor.

“This competition encourages student interest in autonomous robotic systems operating in the maritime domain, with an emphasis on the science and engineering of cooperative autonomy,” said Daryl Davidson, Executive Director, RoboNation. “Velodyne’s involvement in this event allows the students to gain experience with a state-of-the-art lidar and gives the company the opportunity to network with the top students in the world learning about autonomy. This is the technology that leading research and commercial organizations are using to bring exciting autonomous innovations to market today.”

At the Maritime RobotX Challenge, teams built their vessels from the ground up and equipped them with propulsion, sensor, and control systems, including Velodyne lidar sensors.

About RoboNation, Inc.

RoboNation is a nonprofit 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. www.robonation.org

About Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne Lidar (Nasdaq: VLDR, VLDRW) ushered in a new era of autonomous technology with the invention of real-time surround view lidar sensors. Velodyne, the global leader in lidar, is known for its broad portfolio of breakthrough lidar technologies. Velodyne’s revolutionary sensor and software solutions provide flexibility, quality and performance to meet the needs of a wide range of industries, including autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), smart cities and security. Through continuous innovation, Velodyne strives to transform lives and communities by advancing safer mobility for all.

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