Velodyne’s Puck ‘lidar’ sensor

Velodyne’s Puck lidar sensor (previously VLP-16) is the highest-value sensor on the market. The Puck™’s reliability, power efficiency, and surround view make it the ideal solution for affordable low-speed autonomy and driver assistance applications.

Lidar — Light Detection and Ranging — is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth. NOAA scientists use lidar-generated products to examine both natural and manmade environments.

Velodyne Puck sensors provide rich 3D computer perception data that allows real-time localization, mapping, object detection, classification and tracking to support safe navigation and reliable operation. The Puck is a small, compact lidar sensor that delivers 100-meter range. Its reliability, power-efficiency and surround view make it an ideal solution for affordable low speed autonomy applications.

A typical lidar sensor emits pulsed light waves from a laser into the environment. These pulses bounce off surrounding objects and return to the sensor. The sensor uses the time it took for each pulse to return to the sensor to calculate the distance it traveled. Repeating this process millions of times per second creates a real-time 3D map of the environment. An onboard computer can utilize this 3D map of the surrounding environment for navigation.

Airborne laser scanning systems (commonly referred to as light detection and ranging or lidar systems) can provide terrain elevation data for open areas with a vertical accuracy of 15 cm.

Lidar sensors make autonomous vehicles possible by providing a high-resolution, real-time 3D view of the surroundings. Lidar provides autonomous vehicles 3D vision by generating and measuring billions of data points in real time, creating a precise map of the ever-changing surroundings for the vehicle to safely navigate. Lidar’s exceptional distance accuracy allows the vehicle’s system to identify and avoid objects. With lidar, the vehicle can “see” up to 300 meters on all sides with accuracy within a few centimeters. This enables the vehicle to drive itself at high speeds and navigate the road safely. Velodyne Lidar Inc. is the original inventor and market-leader in 3D lidar technology. Velodyne currently supplies more than 40 OEMs and new tech entrants worldwide. As a result, Velodyne’s sensors have been tested, validated, and utilized over millions of real-world road miles.

LFoV lidar are made with moving parts, such as moving mirrors. In contrast, 360-degree lidar are made of an internal solid-state mechanism that spins. The spinning mechanism is based on ball bearings, such as those used in robust jet engine systems. Frost and Sullivan describe Velodyne’s spinning lidar technology as solid-state hybrid (SSH) lidar.

There is no inherent difference in 3D vision quality between the 360-degree lidar and the LFoV lidar. However, the LFoV provides a slice of the environment. Its limited view typically spans from 90 degrees to 120 degrees. To “see” 360 degrees of the environment, LFoV pictures must be stitched together by the car’s computer. This requires extra processing and problems can arise in the “stitch lines.”

The VLP-16 has a range of 100m, and the sensor’s low power consumption (~8W), light weight (830 grams), compact footprint
(~Ø103mm x 72mm), and dual return capability make it ideal for UAVs and other mobile applications.

Velodyne’s LiDAR Puck supports 16 channels, ~300,000 points/sec, a 360° horizontal field of view and a 30° vertical field of view, with +/- 15° up and down. The Velodyne LiDAR Puck does not have visible rotating parts, making it highly resilient in challenging environments (Rated IP67).

Sensor –

Time of flight distance measurement with calibrated reflectivities
• 16 channels
• Measurement range up to 100 meters
• Accuracy: +/- 3 cm (typical)
• Dual returns
• Field of view (vertical): 30° (+15° to -15°)
• Angular resolution (vertical): 2°
• Field of view (horizontal/azimuth): 360°
• Angular resolution (horizontal/azimuth): 0.1° – 0.4°
• Rotation rate: 5 – 20 Hz
• Integrated web server for easy monitoring and configuration

Laser –

Class 1 – eye safe
• 905 nm wavelength