Arguably the top LiDAR producer in the world, Velodyne LiDAR, has just cut the price of its most popular offering — the VLP-16 — in half, up to 50%.
Much of the price cut is down to growing demand for LiDAR sensors, and thus improving production efficiencies, according to a press release from the company.
“Demand for our VLP-16s grew tremendously in 2017. As a result, we increased capacity and now can pass along savings as cost reduction to our customers,” explained Velodyne CEO and founder, David Hall. “We want to make 2018 a year of optimism for the autonomous vehicle, especially as the first waves of robocabs hit the road. Our goal is the democratization of transportation safety by making it accessible to every man, woman, and child in the world as quickly as possible.”
This news follows on 2017’s announcement that Velodyne sensor production had begun at its new automated manufacturing facility in San Jose, California. Clearly, the two events are closely linked together…
The press release provides more: “Established earlier this year, the Megafactory today leverages advanced and streamlined manufacturing techniques to build a range of Velodyne LiDAR sensors, including the Ultra Puck VLP-32C and the recently announced VLS-128. The Megafactory employs hundreds of people who fulfill engineering, manufacturing, and corporate functions for Velodyne, which has more than doubled its full-time employees over the past 6 months. As noted by Hall, the Megafactory has established a business case for US-based production, because even as automation has increased, so has hiring as the company invests heavily in automation and the skilled support staff that it requires.”
With regard to the VLP-16 puck sensor itself, that product was launched just a few years ago, in 2016. It has been a very widely adopted piece of hardware since then. The VLP-16 reportedly provides in-depth, 360-degree surround field of view on a range of 100 meters or less.
“The VLP-16 opened the door for advanced LiDAR technology in several industries that benefit from real-time 3D data in a small form factor,” stated Mike Jellen, President, Velodyne LiDAR. “As interest in LiDAR technology grows around the world, we’re gratified to know that the Puck will be one of the most widely used and accessible sensors available.”
The company of course now has a number of fast growing competitors to deal with as well, but it seems to be well placed to grow with the emerging self-driving car sector.
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