Sensors on Display: Velodyne LiDAR Featured in ‘Robot Revolution,’ National Touring Exhibit from Chicago Museum of Science and Industry —
In Silicon Valley, Computer Museum Extends Run of ‘History of Autonomous Vehicles,’ Showcasing Velodyne LiDAR Sensor Technology
MORGAN HILL, Calif. (June 11, 2015) – While museums typically look back, two institutions, in Chicago and Silicon Valley, are thinking as much about tomorrow as yesterday – and Velodyne LiDAR is an integral part of both.
Robot Revolution, a national touring exhibit that premiered at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (http://www.msichicago.org) on May 21, explores how robots, created by human ingenuity, will ultimately be companions and colleagues, changing how people play, live and work together. Some 2,000 miles away, “Where To? A History of Autonomous Vehicles” at Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum will extend its run into a second year. Both venues showcase Velodyne’s market-leading HDL-32E 3D LiDAR sensor, in UAV and autonomous driving applications, respectively.
Velodyne is recognized worldwide as the standard for high-definition, real-time 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors for autonomous vehicle applications, having created enabling technology for the industry. Velodyne introduced LiDAR during the 2004-2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and has since optimized it for a range of other applications, from unmanned aerial vehicles and mobile mapping to robotics and factory automation.
Robot Revolution enables guests to step into a visionary world where robots are not just a curiosity, but a vital asset. Guests have extraordinary opportunities to interact with robots that have rarely been shown to the public. The exhibit comes to life with about 40 robots that have been secured from some of the most innovative global robotics companies, including Velodyne.
“We’re delighted and honored to be a part of this milestone survey of robotic technology,” said Wolfgang Juchmann, PhD., Director, Sales and Marketing for Velodyne LiDAR. “As curated by the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Robot Revolution will both educate and inspire. Within the next decade robotics will still be answering that most basic question: what is it that people don’t like to do? What tasks are the most mundane and the most prone to human error? Where can robots be of greatest help to human beings?” [For more insights, please see “The Year of the Robot: A Q&A with Wolfgang Juchmann,”http://www.velodynelidar.com/
The exhibit features four areas that delve into various aspects of robotics and offer specific hands-on activities:
- Cooperation: Discover how robots can work with humans effectively to assist us and enhance our lives.
- Smarts: Identify how these machines are able to sense, plan and then act, while comparing and contrasting the ways in which humans and robots learn.
- Skills: Learn about the skills robots possess that mimic—and often surpass—human capabilities. Put your abilities to the test against robot counterparts.
- Locomotion: Explore the varieties of ways that robots can move and how they can offer humans access to places we can’t venture ourselves.
Robot Revolution is supported by Google with additional support from The Boeing Company, RACO Industrial, The David Bohnett Foundation, The Kaplan Foundation and official airline United Airlines. For more information, visit msichicago.org/robot.
LiDAR Making History
Meanwhile, in Mountain View, Calif., “Where To? A History of Autonomous Vehicles” – an exhibit that debuted in 2014 – is extending its run into a second year, at Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum. The exhibit chronicles the decades-long challenge of bringing self-driving cars to the general public. According to the museum, self-driving cars have remained perpetually “two decades away” since the 1930s, while autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles have conquered the air and sea, and roamed the edges of the solar system. Displayed prominently at the museum are Velodyne’s flagship LiDAR HDL products — the classic HDL-64E and the lightweight, compact HDL-32E. Visitors to the Museum can witness Velodyne LiDAR in action in three installations:
- Mounted atop a stationary Google self-driving vehicle is the HDL-64E; thanks to images projected on the big screen, visitors can see what the Google car sees through its Velodyne “eyes”
- On select dates, visitors can take a test ride in a Google self-driving vehicle and get up close and personal with the HDL-64E
- Mounted on a column within the exhibit, the HDL-32E operates in continuous mode, measuring the entire exhibit in real-time – visitors moving through the exhibit halls are captured and their movements are displayed on a big screen TV
The exhibit explores the history of autonomous vehicles as portrayed in science fiction and popular culture. “Self-guiding vehicles go way back, from auto tillers on sailboats to the modern torpedo in the 1860s, and autopilots for planes before World War I,” said Marc Weber, Founder and Curator of the Museum’s Internet History Program. “One deceptively modest goal has stayed in the driveway since our grandparent’s youth and that’s the self-driving family car. In this exhibit we’re exploring the history of autonomous vehicles in general, and the elusive dream of a car that drives itself.”
About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. From groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to hands-on opportunities that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), the Museum offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to MSI’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. MSI is also supported in part by the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, visit msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.
About the Computer History Museum
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. is a nonprofit organization with a four decade history as the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history, and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs and moving images. The Museum brings computer history to life through large‐scale exhibits, an acclaimed speaker series, a dynamic website, docent‐led tours and an award‐winning education program. The Museum’s signature exhibition is “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” described by USA Today as “the Valley’s answer to the Smithsonian.” Other current exhibits include “Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2,” “IBM 1401 and PDP‐1 Demo Labs”, and “Where To? The History of Autonomous Vehicles.” The Museum is located at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View. For more information and updates, call (650) 810‐1059, visit www.computerhistory.org, check us out on Facebook, follow @computerhistory on Twitter and the Museum blog @chm.
About Velodyne LiDAR
Founded in 1983 and based in California’s Silicon Valley, Velodyne Acoustics, Inc. is a diversified technology company known worldwide for its high-performance audio equipment and real-time LiDAR sensors. The company’s LiDAR division evolved after founder and inventor David Hall competed in the 2004-05 DARPA Grand Challenge using stereovision technology. Based on his experience during this challenge, Hall recognized the limitations of stereovision and developed the HDL64 high-resolution LiDAR sensor. Velodyne subsequently released its compact, lightweight HDL‑32E sensor, available for many applications including UAVs, and the new VLP-16 LiDAR Puck, a 16-channel real-time LiDAR sensor that is both substantially smaller and dramatically less expensive than previous generation sensors. Since 2007, Velodyne’s LiDAR division has emerged as a leading 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. For more information, visit www.velodynelidar.com.