Inside Unmanned Systems

FEB-MAR 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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GROUND INDUSTRY UPDATE 32   February/March 2018 unmanned systems inside COMPANIES ARE TOUTING new LiDAR capabilities that offer higher resolution and/or come in smaller packages. In ad- dition, most companies are saying unit costs will soon drop to only a few hun- dred dollars when purchased in quantity. Velodyne recently reduced the price of its VLP-16 puck, the company's most popular sensor, which was originally priced at $7,999. The company said in- creased automated manufacturing at its new "Megafactory" enabled it to reduce the LiDAR unit's cost by 50 percent. Founded by David Hall in 1983 as a high-performance audio company, Velodyne participated in the now-leg- endary DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Challenge in 2005. "During the race, [Hall] said he could see some of the things, some of the time, but not all of the time. So, in 2005, he invented real-time 3-D LiDAR," said Mike Jellen, the firm's president and chief commercial officer. Jellen said the majority of the industry is now running Hall's vision on their vehicles, with 50 projects, in- cluding mobility-as-a- service operating. The company has grown to 500 employees work- ing at five facilities, he said, including those in Germany and Beijing. Velodyne shipped 10,000 VLP-16 puck units in 2017. In terms of worldwide autonomous vehicle rollout, Jellen said nothing can stop it now. "It is now inevitable. It's coming into reality across the industry." Velodyne rolled out its f lagship VLS-128 recently, which it says has a 360-degree field-of-view. The com- pany's booth featured the NAV YA autonomous mini-bus that currently navigates with three Velodyne VLP- 16 LiDAR. The NAVYA bus can speed up to 30 mph with as many as six passengers. Keen Competition At CES 2018, Mobileye announced it will launch 15 autono- mous driving projects this year with 14 car manufacturers. The company, which was bought last year by Intel for $15.3 billion, said four of the projects would use its EyeQ4 system on a chip (SOC). The company outlined three areas it is focusing on for autonomous ve- hicles. These are sensing, road experi- ence management and driving policies, said Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CEO, who is also Intel senior vice president. For 2018, the company wants to continue to work on Level 4 automa- tion, offer a more expensive Level 2 LIDAR ON THE RISE The number of companies offering LiDAR (light imaging detection and ranging) units at CES is growing each year as autonomous vehicles continue to be at the forefront of the huge electronics show. Omer Keilaf, CEO, Innoviz "THE UNDER- $5,000 LIDAR MARKET IS GROWING. WE ARE STARTING TO SEE VOLUME GO UP AND PRICE GO DOWN." efits of autonomous vehicles such as safety, efficiency and opportunity. "More seniors and disabled people will have more advantages [with autonomous vehicles]," he said. The use of semi-autonomous technology in vehicles in Japan is making lives better and less stressful, said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan executive vice president. "In Japan the answer is clear, peo- ple feel much less stressful, thanks to [semi-au- tonomous] ProPILOT," said Schillaci, noting the technology, soon to be rolled out in the United States, has 35,000 opt-ins in Japan. "It's going to be a building-block process that will take five- plus years [for fully autonomous vehicles]." Baidu President Ya-Q in Zhang said 500 people die in China each day in auto accidents. "There are huge socioeconomic benefits in terms of safety [with autonomous vehicles]," he said. "In terms of efficiency, 30 percent of traf- fic jams in Beijing are caused by people looking for parking lots. Cars that are autonomously dispatched will increase overall efficiency. Consumers will embrace this idea." Zhang said full autonomy, or Level 5, will take time to roll out. "McKinsey (McKinsey & Company) says only 15 percent of cars, in 12 years, will be autonomously equipped. Though it is happening faster than most people thought," he added. " THE CAR TESTS BOTH HUMAN AND MACHINE INTERACTION, NOT JUST AUTONOMOUS [CAPABILITIES]. IT TESTS HOW YOU CAN MAKE THE DRIVER BETTER." Bryn Balcombe, chief strategy officer, Roborace CES Continued from P. 30

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