For more than 20 years, David Hall rarely crossed paths with giant automakers like Ford and General Motors. Velodyne, which he founded in 1983, stayed focused on its business of subwoofers, speakers, and other acoustic accoutrements.
But that changed when Velodyne built its first laser-based radars for an autonomous car race, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, across the Mojave Desert in 2005. Now the automotive industry is one of Velodyne’s closest confidants.
That relationship tightened last week when the company raised $150 million in funding to develop better laser imaging technology or lidar for driverless cars. Velodyne’s lidar works with cameras and radar to gather data about the vehicle’s surroundings and keep an eye on traffic and pedestrians.