Autonomous vehicles can reduce road fatalities

September 9, 2019  - By

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has partnered with Velodyne Lidar, a provider of real-time 3D perception systems for a range of commercial applications, including autonomous vehicles. The initiative includes a website on the safety benefits of autonomous vehicle technology (see and an October conference on autonomous safety.

“We have learned that technology is essential to getting us to our goal of zero deaths caused by drunk driving,” said MADD President Helen Witty. “Autonomous vehicle technology holds the incredible promise of helping us eliminate drunk driving.”

World Safety Summit on Autonomous Technology
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California | October 2, 2019

The summit is designed to advance understanding of the safety benefits that can be achieved with autonomous vehicle technology. It is designed for business, government, public safety and community leaders. Attendees will have the opportunity to ride in autonomous vehicles.

Marta Hall, Velodyne Lidar’s president and chief business development officer, added, “Our goal is to design, develop and mass-produce lower cost lidar sold for every model of car and truck.”

The two organizations partnered in 2018 to create the website with information on how autonomous vehicles can help prevent roadway collisions. The site explains the basics of autonomous driving in easy-to-understand language for all audiences. Content modules include “Lidar 101,” explaining how lidar sensor technology is an essential component of self-driving vehicles.

A 3D lidar sensor such as the Velodyne Alpha Puck can deliver information to help enable vehicle autonomy and advanced driver-assistance systems. (Image: Velodyne)

A 3D lidar sensor such as the Velodyne Alpha Puck can deliver information to help enable vehicle autonomy and advanced driver-assistance systems. (Image: Velodyne)

“The promise of safe, self-driving cars is very exciting, particularly for those of us who have seen the devastation that impaired driving and human error can bring,” said former MADD President Colleen Sheehey-Church.

Puck Sensor.
The Velodyne Alpha Puck is a lidar sensor specifically made for autonomous driving and advanced vehicle safety at highway speeds. In a session at July’s Automated Vehicle Symposium, company speakers presented “High-Definition 3D Lidars: An Integral Part of Future Autonomous Driving,” including use cases that have proven elusive for solutions based on camera and radar; and “State of Solid-State 3D Lidar,” a technical presentation on application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

“Core lidar electronics are moving from a printed circuit board to an ASIC, which provides advantages such as higher density, lower cost and improved reliability,” said UAV and Robotics Business Manager Frank Bertini. “The trend roughly follows Moore’s Law, leading to dramatic decreases in size, weight and cost over relatively short time periods.”

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.