Velodyne acquires Mapper to accelerate development of lidar-based ADAS


Supplier of sensing systems for the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, Velodyne Lidar, Inc. has acquired mapping and localization software as well as intellectual property assets from that will be used to create new advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Velodyne will add Mapper’s mapping and localization software and expertise to advance the development of its new lidar-centric ADAS technologies. In addition to ADAS, Velodyne will also incorporate Mapper technology into lidar-centric solutions for other emerging applications, including connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), last-mile delivery services, security, smart cities, smart agriculture, robotics, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The acquired Mapper technology will enable Velodyne to accelerate the development of its Vella software that operates in conjunction with its directional view Velarray lidar sensor.

The Velarray is the first solid-state Velodyne lidar sensor that is embeddable and fits behind a windshield, as an integral component for superior, more effective ADAS. Mapper’s entire leadership and engineering teams will join Velodyne, bolstering the company’s large and growing software development group. The new talent will augment the current software team of engineers working on Vella software, which will accelerate Velodyne’s production of powerful ADAS solutions. The company’s new systems will allow customers to unlock advanced capabilities for ADAS features, including pedestrian and bicycle avoidance, Lane Keep Assistance (LKA), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), and other applications.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Mapper has been building the world’s largest repository of up-to-date, machine-readable base maps. It has created a globally scalable ecosystem for on-demand creation, validation and maintenance of centimeter-accurate maps. The company’s technology allows it to collect map data with a 100% coverage guarantee on public roads with updates as often as daily. Mapper’s product, On-Demand Maps, delivers machine maps to its automotive industry partners to more rapidly develop and market autonomous solutions. The service gives its customers the ability to dictate which cities or roadways they need mapped to expand their coverage and help move the autonomous industry forward by collecting the high quality geographical data needed for future deployments.

“The goal in the automotive market is to make transportation safer. By adding Vella software to our broad portfolio of lidar technology, we are poised to revolutionize ADAS performance and safety,” said Anand Gopalan, Velodyne’s CTO. “Expanding our team to develop Vella is a giant step towards achieving our goal of mass producing an ADAS solution that dramatically improves roadway safety. Mapper technology gives us access to some key algorithmic elements and accelerates our development timeline. Together, our sensors and software will allow powerful lidar-based safety solutions to be available on every vehicle.”

Mapper’s founder and CEO, Dr Nikhil Naikal, who is joining Velodyne, commented, “Velodyne has both created the market for high-fidelity automotive lidar and established itself as the leader. We have been Velodyne customers for years and have already integrated their lidar sensors into easily deployable solutions for scalable high-definition mapping. We are excited to use our technology to speed up Velodyne’s lidar-centric software approach to ADAS.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.