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Tag Archives: self driving car

Velodyne LiDAR’s technology isn’t just for driverless cars and Radiohead videos

The Velodyne LiDAR HDL-64E

There’s a good chance you’ve seen Velodyne in the news recently…and didn’t even know it. Although Velodyne’s HDL-64E LiDAR sensor has been the main force behind autonomous vehicles for some time, the media pitch is clearly on the rise.

It began with the State of Nevada, which recently became the first state in the nation to formally approve legislation authorizing the use of autonomous vehicles on its roadway. Among other things, Assembly Bill No. 511 authorizes the state’s Department of Transportation to develop rules and regulations governing the use of driverless cars.

The public also recently saw the real-life benefits of this technology when California resident Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, was “chauffeured” to a local Taco Bell by a driverless car…

Did you notice the distinctively shaped cylinder spinning on the roof of the car? That’s the HDL-64E LiDAR sensor hard at work. It contains 64 fixed-mounted lasers that are continuously measuring the surrounding environment. Each laser is mechanically mounted at a specific vertical angle, reading its surroundings while the entire unit spins. It generates 1.3 million points per second output rate.

And you may have seen this technology a few years ago without realizing it.  If you’re a Radiohead fan, you already know they were nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Short Form Music Video for “House of Cards”.

The inspiration for the video idea came from Aaron Koblin, an electronic artist and researcher at UCLA. Koblin created the flight pattern map featured at the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Koblin said he thought Radiohead would be the only band out there willing to take a risk by making a music video without cameras. Check out how Radiohead used our HDL-64E to create their vision for the song:

Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s lead singer commented on the creative process for the video. “I always liked the idea of using technology in a way that it wasn’t meant to be used, the struggle to get your head round what you can do with it. I like the idea of making a video of human being and real and time without using any cameras, just lasers, so there are just mathematical points – and how strangely emotional it ended up being,” he said.

You can be sure this is not the last you’ll see of that spinning cylinder.

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