Velodyne Lidar, Inc. has announced the Velarray M1600, an innovative solid state lidar sensor designed to serve mobile robotic applications. The sensor is the latest in a new line of Velarray products and first in the new M-series. It is built using Velodyne’s breakthrough proprietary micro-lidar array architecture (MLA) and leverages Velodyne’s manufacturing partnerships for cost optimization and high-volume production.
The Velarray M1600 enables touchless mobile and last-mile delivery robots to operate autonomously and safely, without human intervention. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven up the usage of online shopping and delivery services for food, medications, consumer and commercial products. According to CNBC, the U.S. Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping period broke all records for online shopping and the usage of delivery services, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adobe Analytics predicts $184 billion will be spent online the entire holiday period, a 30% increase over 2019.
“The Velarray M1600 lidar sensor is the latest proof point for Velodyne’s innovation track record,” said Anand Gopalan, Velodyne Lidar CEO. “The sensor was designed for high volume mobile robotic applications with direct input from robotics and last-mile delivery customers. This durable and compact sensor can be deployed in a wide variety of environments and weather conditions allowing nearly 365-day, 24/7 usage. It can provide the smart, real-time perception data required by autonomous mobile robots for safe and extended operation without human intervention.”
The Velarray M1600 provides autonomous robots with outstanding near-field perception up to 30 meters and a broad 32-degree vertical field of view, allowing them to traverse unstructured and changing environments. The sensor enables robots to safely navigate crowded urban areas and corridors for delivery and security applications. Other environments in which the Velarray M1600 will enable autonomous mobile robot operation include warehouses, retail centers, industrial plants and medical facilities. For customers seeking a perception solution package, Velodyne provides Vella software, which utilizes Velarray M1600 data for object and hazard detection, to protect roadway users including pedestrians, bicyclists and pets.
Designed for functional safety and durability, the Velarray M1600 supports autonomous mobile robots in a wide variety of challenging environmental conditions, including temperature, lighting and precipitation. Featuring a compact form factor, the sensor is well-suited for external mounting but also can be easily embedded into robotics systems.
With the available Robot Operating System driver, the Velarray M1600 provides a user-friendly interface for developers. The sensor has modest power demands so the robot can operate longer between battery charges. Samples will be available to qualified customers with a lead time of approximately 6-8 weeks.
Velodyne’s white paper, The Benefits of 3D Lidar for Autonomous Mobile Robots, elaborates further on lidar-enhanced robots.