Velodyne Lidar, Inc. (Velodyne), the inventor and leader of the lidar sensor industry for autonomous vehicles (AV), today announced Nikon Corporation (Nikon) as a new strategic investor with an investment of $25M. The parties further announced they have begun discussions for a multifaceted business alliance. Nikon is one of the world’s leading suppliers of products and solutions based on advanced optoelectronics and precision technologies.
Aiming to combine Nikon’s optical and precision technologies with Velodyne’s sensor technology, both companies have begun investigating a wide-ranging business relationship, including collaboration in technology development and manufacturing.
Velodyne believes the relationship will advance the timeline for manufacturing and mass production of lidar for the autonomous and advanced safety global market. The companies share a futuristic vision of advanced perception technology for a wide range of applications including robotics, mapping, security, shuttles, drones, and safety on roadways.
“Velodyne is creating a network of powerful alliances supporting the global autonomous vehicle industry,” said David Hall, Velodyne Lidar’s Founder and CEO. “One hundred years ago, optics and camera technologies like Nikon’s helped people to see better. Now, the basis of those technologies is helping computers see.”
About Velodyne Lidar, Inc.
Velodyne provides the smartest, most powerful lidar solutions for autonomy and driver assistance. Founded in 1983 and headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Velodyne is known worldwide for its portfolio of breakthrough lidar sensor technologies. In 2005, Velodyne’s Founder and CEO, David Hall, invented real-time surround view lidar systems, revolutionizing perception and autonomy for automotive, new mobility, mapping, robotics, and security. Velodyne’s high-performance product line includes a broad range of sensing solutions, including the cost-effective Puck™, the versatile Ultra Puck™, the perfect for L4-L5 autonomy Alpha Puck™, and the directional view Velarray™. For more information, visit http://www.velodynelidar.com.
About Nikon Corporation
Nikon Corporation has been a pioneer in optical technology markets worldwide since its inception in 1917. Today, Nikon offers a wide range of products utilizing advanced technologies, from consumer products such as digital cameras, camera-related products and binoculars to industrial precision equipment including FPD and Semiconductor Lithography Systems, microscopes and measuring instruments. In the future, Nikon will take advantage of its core competencies for launching new products and also proposing solutions. In addition, Nikon focuses on the development of the healthcare business field.
Published at Fri, 21 Dec 2018 20:43:56 +0000
Vigilant Aerospace Systems participated with Oklahoma State University (OSU) today in the first beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone flights authorized under a new, unique FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) allowing flights in a 13-mile long corridor in central Oklahoma.
The COA, released by the FAA on Dec. 6, 2018, allows the university to waive rules requiring drone operators to keep their aircraft continuously in line-of-sight. The authorization is one of a very few such certificates in the United States and is only the second for a university. There are currently only 29 similar commercial BVLOS authorizations.
The COA allows the university and partners like Vigilant Aerospace to pioneer new unmanned flight and safety systems that enable long linear inspection operations and remote surveying flights. These linear flights are required for pipeline, utility, road and bridge inspections and for monitoring remote assets like oil and gas wells and farm and ranch operations.
Using its FlightHorizon GCS system, Vigilant Aerospace provided detect-and-avoid and airspace situational awareness services for the first 3-mile flight under the new COA. Originating from the Oklahoma State University Unmanned Aircraft Flight Station near Stillwater, Oklahoma, the flight was completed by OSU’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute (USRI) using a fixed-wing Anaconda drone aircraft.
“This new authorization offers us an opportunity to develop flight processes for infrastructure inspections and to develop solid, research-based solutions for control and safety during these flights. This COA is an important milestone and we will be conducting crucial research and development work with our commercial partners to accelerate the integration of drones into the US national airspace for these kinds of flights,” said USRI Director and OSU Professor Jamey Jacob.
Vigilant Aerospace used FlightHorizon to track the aircraft during its 3-mile outbound and 3-mile return flight while simultaneously tracking 17 manned aircraft for display and alerting in real-time to the pilot-in-command over the duration of the 13-minute flight.
“We were extremely pleased with the performance of the FlightHorizon system in this first flight under the new COA and look forward to demonstrating the ability of unmanned aircraft to be safely flown over these much longer distances,” said Kraettli L. Epperson, CEO of Vigilant Aerospace.
“We are excited to be involved in research and testing that will help to evolve the current regulations and enable whole new uses for drones. Establishing this process will allow us to really unlock the economic value of drones to perform autonomous industrial missions,” said Epperson.
Flights were controlled from a ground control station linked to an onboard autopilot and visual observers followed the aircraft in a motor vehicle.
The flight is the first in a series of tests and demonstrations planned by Vigilant Aerospace with the USRI to develop new concepts of operation utilizing FlightHorizon.
Ultimately, Vigilant Aerospace plans to integrate new sensors into the flights, like micro-radar, and to use its new FlightHorizon PILOT automatic detect-and-avoid (ADAA) system onboard the aircraft to demonstrate autonomous avoidance, with pilot supervision.
Vigilant Aerospace’s FlightHorizon detect-and-avoid and airspace situational awareness products are based on an exclusively licensed NASA patent and prototype and there have been multiple NASA papers published about the system.
The new flight test campaign under the OSU COA comes in the midst of Vigilant Aerospace’s ongoing participation in the FAA’s Integration Pilot Program providing airspace safety and detect-and-avoid services for teams in North Dakota and Alaska, two of only ten authorized IPP teams in the United States. The FAA’s IPP is designed to help collect data and experience performing advanced drone operations, including BVLOS flights, flights over people and package delivery flights. The company recently participated in the first IPP flights-over-people at the FargoDome in North Dakota with CNN and Botlink.
About the Unmanned Systems Research Institute
The Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State University is dedicated to accelerating innovation across a spectrum of activities that span discovery, design and delivery of new unmanned systems technology. The Institute is designed to be a transformational integrative forces across OSU, bringing together interdisciplinary efforts to advance unmanned systems research and education. To learn more, visit the USRI website.
Published at Fri, 21 Dec 2018 19:36:15 +0000