Velodyne and Qualcomm team up to deploy lidar for city and traffic management

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Velodyne Lidar has joined the Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program to promote using lidar technology in smart cities to improve public services and enhance safety and quality of life.

Velodyne’s lidar sensors will be used to help improve pedestrian safety, monitor vehicle traffic, enhance parking space management and speed measurement, as well as augmenting V2X communications, asset management, security and more. The sensors can collect highly accurate, detailed 3D information about people, vehicles, bicyclists, public spaces and more, while preserving anonymity.

“We are pleased to welcome Velodyne Lidar to the Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program to implement cutting-edge lidar solutions for a transparent understanding of the smart environment,” says Ashok Tipirneni, director, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and head of platform product management for smart cities. “Velodyne’s lidar sensors and comprehensive 3D data can help equip our Smart Campus and smart city ecosystem members with enhanced safety measures and streamlined operations.”

Until recently, existing camera-based ITS traffic monitoring technologies have been widely used to study traffic flow rates, occupancy, average speed and spot speed. However, as alternative sensors come onto the market, the weaknesses of camera-based approaches become more apparent. For example, cameras have been shown to suffer in low-light conditions, are prone to optical illusions and do not allow for people’s privacy.

Velodyne’s lidar sensors provide robust 3D data that allows for superior object detection and tracking in a wide variety of lighting and weather conditions. Furthermore, Velodyne’s sensors do not recognize people’s characteristics, such as their faces or the color of their skin, making it an ideal sensor to support the needs of municipalities without compromising their citizens’ privacy. With Velodyne lidar, smart city applications can advance safety, social welfare and operational efficiency.

The control room at Qualcomm’s San Diego Smart Campus

As a real-time application demonstration of the significant value that Velodyne’s lidar can bring to smart city applications, Velodyne and Qualcomm Technologies plan to deploy a Velodyne sensor on the Qualcomm Smart Campus. The lidar is intended to be placed indoors to track people as they move around in a public space. The data can help Qualcomm Technologies to detect traffic and usage patterns so the company can better understand utilization rates and make adjustments to facilities. Velodyne worked with Infinite Computer Solutions and Seoul Robotics, an Automated with Velodyne partner, to build the application.

“The combination of Velodyne’s lidar and Qualcomm Technologies edge computing and 5G capabilities creates a powerful asset for developers to make their smart city ideas a potent solution,” says Jon Barad, vice president of business development, Velodyne Lidar. “Participating in the Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program will help us connect with governments and solution providers to build lidar-based smart city applications that transform city infrastructure and services.”

Velodyne’s sensors provide rich computer perception data that make it quick and easy for developers, cities, municipalities, government agencies and enterprises to build highly accurate 3D models of any environment. The sensors deliver a high-resolution image that can accurately measure and analyze the environment. Their durability, reliability, power-efficiency and versatility make them ideal solutions for demanding smart city applications.

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About Author

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).