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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

High Flying SORA 200 3D LiDAR Sensing Solution from Cepton Provides High-Rez, Low Cost Mapping for UAVs

November 2nd, 2017 by Susan Smith

Cepton Technologies, Inc.’s Head of Business Development Wei Wei  and Vice President of Engineering and co-Founder Dr. Mark McCord talked about the Silicon Valley company’s growth and their latest announcement. In October, Cepton Technologies, a provider of 3D LiDAR sensing solutions for automotive, industrial and mapping applications, announced the launch of SORA 200, a lightweight 3D LiDAR sensor.

Announced at the annual Commercial UAV Expo, SORA 200 promises to deliver long-range, high-resolution and low cost mapping capabilities to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Cepton also recently unveiled the HR80 series of high-performance 3D LiDAR products for ground applications.

Wei Wei said that the reason for developing SORA 200 was that there was no 3D liDAR sensor delivering long-range, high-resolution and low cost mapping for ground robots or UAVs. The much sought after SORA 200 is able to produce highly efficient 3D map data at increased altitudes and velocities in various environments.

The FAA requires that drones fly at at least 400 feet above ground. The direction of UAVs is moving towards the medium to small surveyor market, where mining, agricultural and other industries want UAVs to gather data with a 200 meter range. With a frame rate of 200 frames the drone can fly higher and faster. Previous LiDAR offerings were only able to offer a range of 100 meters.

At 550 grams, SORA 200 is the lightest high-performance UAV LiDAR on the market, according to Wei Wei.

Cepton partners with LiDAR USA, a leader in UAV mapping for many years, on SORA 200 to bring this new solution to the UAV industry which is shipping now. Most of the users of these LiDAR systems are educated by LiDAR USA. LiDAR USA is Ceptons first reseller and system integrator in the UAV mapping industry. LiDAR USA integrates the mapping system into UAVs for the surveying community. SORA 200 can be used with any generic UAV.

“We enable smaller drones to do the job,” said McCord. Also Cepton’s micro-motion LiDAR technology eliminates the need for expensive, troublesome spinning parts common in traditional LiDAR units. The resulting sensors are smaller, and more reliable and have great resolution and range. Being able to use off-the-shelf materials also reduces delivery wait times and overall cost. SORA 200 can provide LiDAR at less than $20,000 and provide greater distance than traditional LiDAR units.

In fulfilling the market need SORA 200 offers the following product features:

Lightweight: At 550 grams, the SORA 200 can be deployed in situations where payload weight matters. UAVs enabled with SORA 200 can fly for longer trips.

Long range: The Sora 200 has a scanning range extending up to 200 meters, which allows UAVs to fly at higher altitudes and cover more ground.

High-frame rate: UAVs equipped with the SORA 200 can operate faster while maintaining a high-density map data acquisition, as a result of their 200-hertz frame rate.

“To meet the increasing demands of UAVs, LiDAR sensors must be long-range, lightweight and high-resolution,” said McCord. “SORA 200 allows for highly efficient 3D map data production at increased altitudes and velocities in various environments. With 200-meter range and a weight of just 550 grams, SORA 200 is the lightest high-performance UAV LiDAR on the market today. We are thrilled to partner with LiDAR USA on this products to bring a new solution to the UAV mapping industry.”

Earlier this year, Cepton announced its HR80T long-range and HR80W wide-angle LiDAR products at the annual NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC). According to Company materials, Cepton’s HR series drives automation forward by bringing perception and 3D mapping to smart machines with higher resolution and longer range imaging at dramatically lower costs.

“Companies in the automotive and industrial sectors are struggling to bring 3D perception to smart machines due to the lack of currently available high-resolution, high-performance and low-cost LiDAR solutions,” said McCord. “As a result, machines currently live in the dark, with limited view of the world around them. Cepton is pushing the limits of LiDAR technology. These new products provide our customers with an immediate and practical means to enable perception in smart machines and are currently the most viable solution for mass deployment on autonomous vehicles.”

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Categories: Big Data, cloud, data, drones, laser radar, lidar, mapping, photogrammetry, public safety, remote sensing, sensors, situational intelligence, small sats, spatial data, survey, UAS, UAV, UAVs

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