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Velodyne Lidar – The First LiDAR Pure Play Stock

July 8. 2020. 7 mins read

About four years ago, we first discussed a technology called LiDAR, and in that piece we talked about a startup called Velodyne whose LiDAR products were being used in 25 different self-driving car programs at the time. Today, Velodyne has emerged as a leader in the LiDAR space having advanced surprisingly far in just under four years’ time. Last week, Velodyne announced that they plan to begin trading on the public market using a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Graf Industrial. (Be sure to read our warning on SPACs.) Since there’s no S-1 to pore through, we’re stuck reviewing all the rosy-colored investment decks that accompany the offering.

What is LiDAR?

Just to bring everyone up to speed first, LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is a 3D laser scanning technology that was originally developed in the 1960s for submarine detection. A LiDAR system projects laser beam pulses onto a rotating mirror which then map the distance between objects in the surrounding area to produce a detailed 3D image. Using the speed of light as a baseline, the system detects the time of flight of the light pulses to gauge how far away objects are.

The original use case for LiDAR was autonomous driving, but plenty more applications have emerged in areas such as general mobility, mapping,

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