Velodyne develops its most advanced lidar sensor


Supplier of sensing systems for the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, Velodyne Lidar, Inc. has launched the new Alpha Prime next-generation lidar (light detection and ranging) sensor that aims to be the most advanced unit currently available.

Using Velodyne’s patented surround view technology, Alpha Prime is intended to deliver the combined highest performance specifications for the autonomous mobility industry in one sensor. The company says the new unit is an unmatched solution in perception, field-of-view and range for autonomous markets including transportation, trucking and robotics. Offering a new level of power efficiency, the Alpha Prime is available now for orders and delivery, with Velodyne providing world-class technical support for the new sensor across North America, Europe, and Asia. The unit’s unique combination of breakthrough innovations allows vehicles to navigate in unfamiliar and dynamic settings. Its best-in-class capabilities help improve vehicle safety and enable more precise mapping.

Alpha Prime’s main features include:

  • Superior field-of-view, with 360-degree surround view perception and a 40-degree vertical field-of-view;
  • Outstanding performance in a wide variety of lighting conditions, including retro reflectors and sunlight mitigation;
  • Exceptional detection of dark or low reflectance objects at long distances, such as tires, dark vehicles, low reflectivity pavement and low visibility pedestrians;
  • Advanced negative obstacle perception, such as potholes and cracks in the road;
  • The highest resolution along with robust reflectivity returns from over 4.8 million points per second, simplifying detection and tracking of vehicles, pedestrians and other obstructions;
  • High resolution and laser calibration enable the sensor to easily localize vehicles, outdoors or indoors, without a GPS, for precise positioning;
  • Improved efficiency for extended vehicle operating time within broad temperature and environmental ranges without the need for active cooling;
  • Advanced sensor-to-sensor interference mitigation;
  • Automotive mass production options from multiple sources for qualified programs.

“The Alpha Prime is a significant step forward in enabling the advancement of the autonomous vehicle and robot industries,” said Anand Gopalan, Velodyne’s chief technology officer. “With its breadth of best-in-class features, the Alpha Prime is a marked advancement in sensor performance for real world conditions. We take pride in listening to our customers and delivering innovative and high-performance products. We believe our versatility and agility extend our leadership status in the lidar business to empower autonomous solutions on a global scale.”

Oliver Cameron, co-founder and CEO of AV manufacturer Voyage, said, “We have developed and deployed self-driving cars super-charged by Velodyne’s lidar technology for the past three years. Our team is amazed by the advancements in the Alpha Prime and are continually impressed by Velodyne’s string of innovations.”

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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.