Velodyne launches new high-resolution lidar sensor for autonomous vehicles

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A new, real-time high-resolution lidar sensor has just been unveiled and is likely to have a major impact on the autonomous vehicle, 3D mapping and surveillance industries, as it provides considerably greater definition of 3D images.

Velodyne LiDAR Inc, a widely recognized global leader in lidar (light, detection and ranging) technology, has launched its new Puck Hi-Res sensor, a version of the company’s groundbreaking LiDAR Puck that provides higher resolution in captured 3D images, thereby allowing objects to be identified at greater distances. Puck Hi-Res is the third new lidar sensor released by the company this year, joining the standard VLP-16 Puck and the Puck LITE. Expanding on Velodyne’s groundbreaking VLP-16 Puck, a 16-channel, real-time 3D LiDAR sensor that weighs just 29.3oz (830g), Puck Hi-Res is used in applications that require greater resolution in the captured 3D image.

The Puck Hi-Res retains the VLP-16 Puck’s 360º horizontal field of view (FoV) and 328ft (100m) range, but delivers a 20º vertical FoV for a tighter channel distribution, using 1.33º between channels instead of 2.00º, to deliver greater details in the 3D image at longer ranges. This enables the host system to not only detect, but also better discern, objects at these greater distances. Capable of scanning 300,000 points per second, with a low power consumption, the Puck Hi-Res has a small form factor and weighs just 29.3oz (830g). Velodyne is now accepting orders for Puck Hi-Res, with a lead time of approximately eight weeks.

“Introducing a high-resolution lidar solution is essential to advancing any industry that leverages the capture of 3D images, from autonomous navigation to mapping to surveillance,” said Mike Jellen, president and COO of Velodyne. “The Puck Hi-Res sensor will provide the most detailed 3D views possible from lidar, enabling widespread adoption of this technology, while increasing safety and reliability.”

Wayne Seto, Velodyne’s product line manager, noted, “Building on the VLP-16 Puck and the Puck LITE, the Puck Hi-Res was an intuitive next step for us, as the evolution of the various industries that rely on lidar showed the need for higher-resolution 3D imaging. Not only does the Puck Hi-Res provide greater detail in longer ranges, but it retains all the functions of the original VLP-16 Puck that shook up these industries when it was introduced in September 2014.”

Dr Rajender Thusu, industry principal for sensors & instruments at industry analyst Frost & Sullivan, commented, “The 3D imaging market is expected to grow from US$5.71bn in 2015 to US$15.15bn in 2020, led by the development of autonomous shuttles for large campuses, airports, and basically anywhere there’s a need to safely move people and cargo. We expect Velodyne LiDAR’s line of sensors to play a key role in this surge in autonomous vehicle development, as the company leads the way in partnerships with key industry drivers, along with the fact that sensors like the new Puck Hi-Res are substantially more sophisticated than competitive offerings, and increasingly accessible to all industry players.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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