Velodyne LiDAR Inc. has announced a new design for a solid-state LiDAR sensor that can deliver a subsystem cost of under $50 when sold in high-volume manufacturing scale.

The technology will impact LiDAR sensors in multiple sectors, including autonomous vehicles, 3D mapping, drones and ridesharing. LiDAR sensors that leverage what Velodyne is calling a “groundbreaking” design will be less expensive, easier to integrate due to smaller size, and more reliable because of fewer moving parts. The technology can also be integrated in Velodyne LiDAR’s existing Puck form factors.

“Our new design approach creates a true solid-state LiDAR sensor, while significantly raising the bar as to what can be expected from LiDAR sensors as far as cost, size and reliability,” says David Hall, founder and CEO, Velodyne LiDAR. “Together with our customers and partners, we strive to create a world where LiDAR sensors increase safety and freedom for people everywhere, and this new design is a huge step in that direction.”

Velodyne LiDAR’s new approach to the development of solid-state LiDAR sensors reflects the application of a monolithic gallium nitride (GaN) integrated circuit, developed in partnership with Efficient Power Conversion (EPC). The design consolidates components and results in advances in sensor miniaturization, reliability and cost reduction. Each integrated circuit is less than 4 millimeters square, which just covers George Washington’s nose on the U.S. quarter.

"As LiDAR technology continues to gain widespread adoption, GaN technology brings higher performance resulting in higher image resolution, all while offering enhanced integration of key functions that ultimately lead to reduced overall cost for LiDAR-based system solutions,” says Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation.

Velodyne LiDAR’s design is currently being tested and integrated into future products, and a release date announcement will be made in 2017.

About Velodyne LiDAR
Founded in 1983 and based in California’s Silicon Valley, Velodyne LiDAR Inc. is a technology company that specializes in real-time LiDAR sensors. Since 2007, Velodyne LiDAR has emerged as a developer, manufacturer and supplier of real-time LiDAR sensor technology used in a variety of commercial applications including autonomous vehicles, vehicle safety systems, 3D mobile mapping, 3D aerial mapping and security.