Issue: Jan 2014

Velodyne LiDAR Powers Google’s Driverless Car

by Clinton Wright

Velodyne is recognized worldwide for developing high-definition LiDAR (Light Detection
and Ranging) sensors for autonomous vehicle applications, including 3D mapping and
surveying. The company’s real-time HDL 3D LiDAR sensor family is the sensor for assisted or autonomous driving. Velodyne created the technology during the 2004-2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and optimized it for self-driving vehicles.

Velodyne’s sensor is used by virtually every car manufacturer and tier 1 supplier in the
business, including Ford, which last month showcased its Ford Fusion Hybrid Research
Vehicle with 4x Velodyne HDL-32Es on the roof, providing 360º degree views with
remarkable quality (Ford Motor Company Media center).

Excerpts from Ford’s December 12 announcement follow:

• Ford unveils automated Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle to test and advance its Blueprint for Mobility, which envisions a future of autonomous functionality and advanced technologies after 2025.

• Ford’s Fusion Hybrid research vehicle is unique in that it first uses the same technology found in Ford vehicles in dealer showrooms today, then adds four scanning infrared light sensors – named LiDAR (for Light Detection And Ranging) – that scan the road at 2.5 million times per second. LiDAR uses light in the same way a bat or dolphin uses sound waves, and can bounce infrared light off everything within 200 feet to generate a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment.

• The sensors can track anything dense enough to redirect light – whether stationary objects, or moving objects such as vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. The sensors are so sensitive they can sense the difference between a paper bag and a small animal at nearly a football field away.

Please view these additional links: the Lexus self-driving car at 2013 International CES (WSJDigitalNetwork YouTube Channel); Toyota's self-driving car at CES (; Google – some 20 vehicles cruising around the San Francisco Bay Area (; and a video from Bosch (BoschAutomotive YouTube Channel).

About Velodyne LiDAR
Founded in 1983 and based in California’s Silicon Valley, Velodyne, Inc. is a diversified technology company known worldwide for its high-performance audio equipment and high-definition LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicle applications.

The company’s LiDAR division evolved after founder and inventor David Hall competed in the 2004-05 DARPA Grand Challenge using stereovision technology. Based on his experience during this challenge, Hall recognized the limitations of stereovision and developed the HDL64 high-resolution LiDAR sensor. More recently, Velodyne has
released its smaller, lightweight HDL-32E sensor, available for many applications including UAV’s.

Since 2007, Velodyne’s LiDAR division has emerged as a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of high-definition LiDAR sensor technology used in a variety of commercial autonomous vehicle applications, including 3D mapping and surveying. For more information, visit

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