Velodyne brought in Lidar Tech to see Robot Dog
The company is working with Boston Dynamics to explore how Lidar will affect the future of Industry 4.0
Velodyne Lidar has teamed up with Boston Dynamics and announced plans to enter the autonomous driving game.

Lidar technology, which offers a 3D view around the sensor, helps companies get deeper sensor data. However, it has yet to become mainstream, as concerns about cost and scalability have so far held some industries back.

Velodyne and Boston Dynamics
Velodyne integrates its Lidar technology into Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog, Spot. This is not the first time the two companies have worked together. According to Sally Frykman, Velodyne CMO, the company’s Lidar sensor technology was previously deployed as part of Spot’s Enhanced Autonomy Payload to create more detailed maps around the robot. The new collaboration builds on this first partnership. With Lidar sensors, Spot has access to a 360-degree view of its surroundings in real-time, improving the size and accuracy of vision.

“Current sensor methods for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) typically use a combination of 2D cameras, time-of-flight infrared depth cameras, and 2D lidar,” Frykman said. “However, these sensor sets have issues that affect the overall efficiency and performance of the system, such as limitations in processing object distances in lower and higher light conditions, poor resolution, and limited range of vision.”

This is where Velodyne comes in with its advanced 3D lidar, which enhances AMR’s ability to monitor and respond to changes in its environment, as well as more quickly identify potential barriers or problems; everything happened without human intervention. “Combining high-resolution image data with a wide vertical field of view, lidar detects the shape of even low-reflectivity objects, despite their material and motion,” Frykman said. “This vision capability is essential to the development of safe and efficient operations across a wide range of industries that can be transformed by autonomous mobile robots.”

As intelligent automation of factories, warehouses, ports, mining, and other applications continues to evolve, Lidar-enabled robots will be able to perform more complex tasks autonomously and offer solutions to improve worker safety and efficiency.

Lidar and Industry 4.0
What exactly is Lidar and what is the future?

According to Velodyne, Lidar ushers in a new era of autonomous technology, providing real-time spatial imaging; available in a wide range of industries, including not only robotics but also intelligent infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The sensors work by rotating light sources aimed at a target with the time it takes for the light to bounce off the object used to determine the distance – adding another 2D dimension. “Lidar was built primarily for autonomous vehicles (AVs),” said Sinclair Vass, chief product officer at Velodyne. “To get the driver out of the car and get the car going, you need Lidar, and that’s the real reason it was invented. But now we’re finding that it opens up a lot of different opportunities – with industrial robotics being one of them.

Lidar technology itself is not new, but Velodyne has set itself apart by taking 3D Lidar and making it high-performance and scalable; to make the sensors themselves smaller and less power-hungry for enterprise sensor deployments and expanding use cases. In addition, the company aims to make these solutions economically competitive.

“Recently, prices have come down, and that has allowed for increased adoption,” Vass said. “Lidar has put a lot of investment into it, but now we’re starting to get to the point where we’re seeing real commercial shipments of lidar. It’s the start of an exciting cycle.”

In the past, Velodyne has used the technology to help with traffic control, placing sensors at dangerous intersections and using the data it collects to solve identified problems, though it has plans for industrial robotics. and warehouse, as well as a higher purpose, to enter AV. mark…

“There’s a lot of work to be done in the different market segments we’re looking at in terms of determining which lidar is best to use,” Vass said. “The autonomous aspects of driving take time, so our strategy is to support many more brands with lidar solutions that will allow them to build their business model. Once the autonomous car space starts, we’re ready to go. That too.” In the long run, the AV market is our biggest market, the longer it takes to get there. ”

While we may be on the verge of a lidar revolution, Vass cautions that we’re not there yet.

“The whole industry needs to move from innovation to long-term scalability,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I believe Lidar will see significant adoption. We just need to move forward, make it cheaper and make it fully autonomous.”

With labor shortages persisting and companies still reeling from the ripple effects of the pandemic, increasing efficiency while reducing operating costs has become a growing demand in the industry. As automated solutions are increasingly used to meet this challenge, the deployment of Lidar technology can provide the next level of performance and visibility.