Velodyne Passes 30,000 Lidar Systems

Velodyne’s founder and CEO David Hall is credited with inventing, in 2005, real-time, surround-view lidar.
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Velodyne’s founder and CEO David Hall is credited with inventing, in 2005, real-time, surround-view lidar. Lidar (from “light detection and ranging”) is an instrumental sensor for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), as well as for automated driving systems.


Alpha Puck lidar unit

(Image: Velodyne)

Velodyne has developed a number of lidar systems of varying capabilities (directional and surround-view, with differing sensing ranges) and price points—the Puck, Ultra Puck, Alpha Puck, VelaDome, Velarray—and it produces products in a 200,000-square-foot factory in San Jose, California.

Velodyne has announced that it has shipped a cumulative total of 30,000 lidar sensors that represent a total value of $500,000,000. About this accomplishment, Hall, understandably proud, said, “We broke through this milestone because the Velodyne team develops the smartest, most powerful lidar solutions. Velodyne created the world’s first in-house automated manufacturing processes to produce automotive-grade lidar products at scale.”

But there is one thing about this accomplishment which goes to a point of why there isn’t a proliferation of lidar systems on mass produced vehicles right now.

Take the 30,000 sensors and divide that into the half-billion dollars. That means on the order of $16,667 each.

Obviously, that’s not the real number for these various sensors. But the point is that the technology is still rather expensive vis-à-vis “automotive-grade” equipment.

Presumably with scale—as well as continued technological development—those prices will decrease.


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