Velodyne, Ouster release new lidar tech

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San Francisco’s Lombard Street captured with 3 OS1 lidar sensors. Credit: Ouster

This month, lidar players Velodyne and Ouster have released new products, which the companies boast are cheaper and higher-performing than existing systems. 

Ouster has introduced OS1-32, which the firm says is ‘the world’s most affordable 32-channel lidar sensor.’ The system – which employs the company's multi-beam flash lidar technology – doubles the resolution of its 16-channel predecessor, the OS1-16.

The new release is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of perception systems by providing an attainable price point for researchers, roboticists, and commercial applications.

The OS1-32 is priced at $8,000 for commercial applications (with volume pricing available) and $6,000 for non-profit university research.

‘Less expensive high-resolution lidar is critical for moving computer vision from simple obstacle avoidance to advanced perception and situational awareness. Higher resolution helps machines to better understand the physical world, and move projects from R&D to commercial availability,’ said Ouster CEO and co-founder Angus Pacala.

With a range of 120 metres, the OS1-32 maintains what the company says is the smallest form factor and lowest weight (425g) of any commercially available high-resolution lidar sensor on the market.

In addition to the release of the OS1-32, Ouster has introduced a new modular top cap, enabling tight physical and aesthetic integration into customer platforms for the OS1-series sensors. 

Velodyne Lidar has introduced Alpha Prime, a lidar sensor that delivers ‘the combined highest performance specifications for the autonomous mobility industry in one sensor,’ the company said in a press release.

The Alpha Prime’s new features include: a 360° surround view perception and a 40° vertical field-of-view; improved detection of dark or low reflectance objects at long distances; advanced negative obstacle perception, such as potholes and cracks in the road; improved efficiency for extended vehicle operating time within broad temperature and environmental ranges without the need for active cooling; and high resolution along with robust reflectivity returns from over 4.8 million points per second, simplifying detection and tracking of vehicles, pedestrians and other obstructions.

‘The Alpha Prime is a significant step forward in enabling the advancement of the autonomous vehicle and robot industries,’ said Anand Gopalan, chief technology officer, Velodyne Lidar. ‘With its breadth of best-in-class features, the Alpha Prime is a marked advancement in sensor performance for real world conditions.’

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