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Alpha Prime sensor from Velodyne Lidar to sharpen self-driving car perception

Alpha Prime sensor from Velodyne Lidar to sharpen self-driving car perception

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Velodyne Lidar Inc. this week said the new Alpha Prime sensor uses its patented surround-view technology to deliver the combined highest performance specifications for the autonomous mobility industry in one sensor. Alpha Prime is “an unmatched solution in perception, field of view and range for autonomous markets including transportation, trucking, and robotics,” claimed the company.

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

“Here at Velodyne, we take pride in listening to our customers and delivering innovative and high-performance products,” Gopalan said. “We believe Velodyne’s versatility and agility extend our leadership status in the lidar business to empower autonomous solutions on a global scale.”

Velodyne said the sensor, which is available now, is designed for more precise mapping and to help autonomous vehicles safely navigate in unfamiliar and dynamic settings.

AlphaPrime features

AlphaPrime includes the following features, according to Velodyne:

  • Wide field of view: 360-degree surround-view perception and a 40-degree vertical field-of-view
  • Performance in a wide variety of lighting conditions, including retro reflectors and sunlight mitigation
  • Detection of dark or low-reflectance objects at long distances, such as tires, dark vehicles, low-reflectivity pavement, and low-visibility pedestrians
  • Advanced negative obstacle perception, such as potholes and cracks in the road
  • The highest resolution on the market, along with robust reflectivity returns from over 4.8 million points per second, simplifying detection and tracking of vehicles, pedestrians, and obstructions
  • High resolution and laser calibration enable the sensor to easily localize vehicles — outdoors or indoors — without GPS, for precise positioning
  • Improved power efficiency for extended vehicle operating time, within broad temperature and environmental ranges, and without the need for active cooling
  • Advanced sensor-to-sensor interference mitigation
  • Automotive mass-production options from multiple sources for qualified programs
Alpha Prime sensor from Velodyne Lidar sharpens self-driving car perception
Alpha Prime sensor. Source: Velodyne Lidar

Alpha Prime reaction, availability

“Voyage has developed and deployed self-driving cars super-charged by Velodyne’s lidar technology for the past three years,” said Oliver Cameron, co-founder and CEO of Voyage Auto, which raised $31 million for its self-driving cars in September. “Our team is amazed by the advancements in the Alpha Prime and are continually impressed by Velodyne’s string of innovations.”

Velodyne Lidar said it will support the sensor across North America, Europe, and Asia. For full product specifications, visit Velodyne’s Alpha Prime product page.


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