Velodyne donates lidar and robotic artifacts to Smithsonian

Velodyne LiDAR, which manufactures high definition lidar sensors, has donated two lidar sensors and two other objects showcasing advancements in robotic technology to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

May 24th, 2011

Velodyne LiDAR (Morgan Hill, CA, USA), which manufactures high definition lidar sensors, has donated two lidar sensors and two other objects showcasing advancements in robotic technology to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Donated by David S. Hall, founder and CEO of Velodyne, the objects presented to the museum now become part of the permanent robotics collection

The first object donated was a fighting robot dubbed Da Claw, which featured a unique propulsion mechanism. Da Claw began Hall’s foray into fighting robots in 2000 and enabled him to compete in Robotica, a robot combat show produced for TLC, a subsidiary of the Discovery Channel.

The second object comes from the first DARPA Grand Challenge, a race of unmanned vehicles along a desert course, in 2004. Competing as Team D.A.D., their autonomous Toyota Tundra employed a roof-top dual camera setup for obstacle detection and embedded DSP-based control system. The roof-top box, cameras, and control board assembly was the second item donated.

The third item was the original prototype of Velodyne’s currently offered lidar products. Used in their 2005 Grand Challenge entry, this 2-foot diameter spinning wheel was the first deployment of the Velodyne 64-laser range finder now used in many autonomous vehicles, 3-D mapping, and other applications. This sensor was the first purposed solution to the challenge of building a navigable terrain map from a single sensor image at a high refresh rate, enabling autonomy at highway speeds.

Success in the 2005 Grand Challenge led to the first commercial version of Velodyne’s product: the HDL-64E, a sample version of which was the last item donated to the Smithsonian. The HDL-64E was used as the obstacle detection sensor by five out of the six finishing teams at the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, including the winner, Carnegie Mellon University’s BOSS.

“We are incredibly honored to donate these items to the Smithsonian,” said David Hall, inventor of the objects donated to the museum. “We like to think that we have had a positive effect on the advancement of autonomous vehicles, 3D mapping, and other endeavors, and that our technology will ultimately lead to saving lives on our highways. Having the Smithsonian recognize our work is both humbling and incredibly satisfying.”

SOURCE: Velodyne

--Posted by Vision Systems Design

More in Robotics