Using Velodyne LiDAR sensors, ThorDrive, an autonomous vehicle (AV) startup, is introducing commercial vehicle services in the first of many pilots. The kick-off event on November 29 was attended by local government and business leaders, including Mayor Liz Kniss of Palo Alto, CA, Mike Jellen, President and CCO of Velodyne Lidar, and Seung-Woo Seo, Founder of ThorDrive. The initial service, in partnership with Hassett ACE Hardware, will support select residents of Channing House (senior housing) and fire departments in Palo Alto, with plans to expand to additional pilots soon. The ThorDrive platform is using Velodyne’s LiDAR sensors to provide rich data content for its AV software.
“We are excited to provide groundbreaking autonomous driving technology that is pioneering a new way to provide value-added services in logistics processes,” said Seung-Woo Seo. “Velodyne’s LiDAR technology provides a crucial data set for sensor fusion in ThorDrive software and will continue to be a core component in the ThorDrive sensor suite.”
“ThorDrive-powered commercial vehicle services demonstrate how Velodyne intelligent LiDar sensors are helping companies place autonomous vehicles on the road today,” said Mike Jellen. “ThorDrive’s technology taps the full potential of Velodyne’s rich computer perception data to help determine the safest way to navigate and direct a self-driving vehicle. They are transforming logistics by developing dedicated autonomous vans to help companies create faster, more efficient commercial services.”
The ThorDrive platform was designed to provide the highly accurate sensor fusion, high-precision localization, and detailed path planning needed to operate in dense urban environments. It can build maps for hyperlocal areas, such as private parking lots. The platform has been demonstrated to support proof-of-concept tests quickly and cost effectively.
ThorDrive has been using Velodyne LiDAR sensors in developing its autonomous driving technology since 2010. The company retrofits Ford vans with its AV technology, and they will be deployed as a fleet of autonomous vehicles across the United States, addressing commercial and logistics markets.
“ThorDrive is very pleased to be working with Velodyne because of their commitment to continuous innovation and focus on manufacturing at scale,” said Farshid Arman, COO, ThorDrive. “Velodyne has been an invaluable collaborator and provides the reliable product and on-time delivery we need to develop our full stack autonomous driving software to our customers’ choice of commercial vehicles.”