Velodyne Lidar has entered into an agreement to provide its Ultra Puck LiDAR sensors to ThorDrive, an autonomous technology company that has developed automated cargo and baggage ground support vehicles for the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).
The proof-of-concept autonomous vehicles, equipped with multiple Velodyne Ultra Puck sensors, are designed to improve airport safety and cargo efficiencies, and have been developed in complex, safety-critical environments at the airport. CVG is the seventh largest cargo airport in North America, and in 2019 handled over 1.2 million tons of cargo and baggage for more than 9.1 million passengers. ThorDrive’s solution will allow airlines to autonomously transport baggage and cargo to and from planes and throughout facilities at any time, day or night, while maintaining tight flight schedules.
The Ultra Puck sensor was selected for ThorDrive’s autonomous cargo transit vans thanks to its patented 3D surround view technology, which provides the real-time object detection capabilities needed for safe, efficient navigation and dependable operation. ThorDrive is planning to expand its autonmous vehicle solutions further into the aviation ground support equipment market as well as to industrial and manufacturing applications.
Brian Cobb, Chief Innovation Officer for the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport, commented: “Our innovation partnerships focus on long-term viability and scale. This agreement is a hallmark event towards ThorDrive’s capacity to scale up with Velodyne’s advanced sensor technology.”
Edward Shelton, VP of Business Development at ThorDrive, said: “Velodyne is our trusted, long term partner to deliver high quality, reliable sensors at an affordable price point. Our software is tuned to their sensors’ state-of-the-art capabilities, advancing our efforts in providing transformative solutions for airline logistics and future applications of our autonomous technology. In working with Velodyne as the industry leader, we will be able to realize the future of moving cargo, equipment and materials.”
Laura Wrisley, VP of North American Sales at Velodyne Lidar, said: “We are thrilled to work with ThorDrive as they deliver trailblazing AV cargo transit programs to airports in North America and around the world, advancing safety and efficiency. They have been on the forefront of innovation for delivery and logistics and we are proud to work with them along the way. ThorDrive AVs show that Velodyne’s lidar sensors provide the range and field of view needed to gain visibility in complex environments to detect and avoid obstacles for safe logistics transport.”