Over the last five to ten years, the value that different types of organizations can derive from geospatial technology has become more clear. Part of that is simply the natural evolution of any technological development, and it was certainly accelerated in part as a result of the pandemic, which sped up technological adoption across industries. This increasing demand has naturally led the more innovation among companies, with new firms opening up to enter this space.
That said, a lot of these companies are specialized, which means that in order to get the most value out of their product they often find complementary partners. We saw another example of this in the lidar and mapping space earlier this week, with the announcement that Innoviz and Kudan would be partnering to provide a lidar-based geospatial mapping solution.
This partnership pairs a leading manufacturer of lidar sensors in the Israeli-based Innoviz with the SLAM mapping company, Kudan. While a lot of these types of lidar-based mapping technologies are used for the growing autonomous vehicle market, and that is certainly a use case in this instance as well, the two companies are aiming for a larger scope with this partnership, envisioning a more wide-ranging set of uses.
A lot of that is centered around the perception software provided by Kudan, which allows machines to generate 3D maps of surrounding environments and gain autonomous mobility. The two companies say this partnership addresses “the growing need for 3D digital mapping solutions leveraging SLAM technology.” The Tokyo-based company’s platform works not only with lidar, but also stereo visual cameras and time-of-flight cameras.
As for Innoviz, they have been utilizing their lidar sensors largely in the autonomous vehicle space, specifically with their InnovizTwo sensor. The company says their newest generation of lidar sensor “solves a significant bottleneck in the industry,” allowing safer and smoother adoption of automation. The sensor has a detection range of 0.3 to 300 meters, and a maximum field of view of 120 degrees by 40 degrees. In addition to consumer vehicles utilizing these sensors, Innoviz has also worked with trucking companies, industrial drone manufacturers, and heavy machinery to improve key automation features in all of those fields.
Now, with these two companies joining forces for a new solution, the lidar capabilities from Innoviz will be used to inform Kudan’s software to create 3D maps. Automation is the focus for most every industry right now, both in terms of commercial vehicles driving the roads as well as other vehicles used for industrial purposes. The key for all of this autonomous motion is accurate and reliable information of the surrounding environment, which is exactly what is created with Kudan’s SLAM software. The two companies see their partnership as a “key enabler for a broad set of uses, including HD maps, robotics, construction, surveying, and digital twinning and industrial metaverse applications.”
The two companies will start by collaborating on digital mapping projects in Japan and eventually moving globally. On the partnership, Innoviz Co-Founder and CEO Omer Keilaf said, “Innoviz is excited to promote our mapping collaboration both in automotive applications and beyond with the Kudan SLAM solution. Kudan's SLAM software and related tools are a great fit with Innoviz's products and we see great opportunity in a number of applications, including HD mapping for autonomous driving, robotics, geospatial mapping and surveying. We're also seeing traction in Asia that demonstrates high demand for our LiDAR technology for automotive and non-automotive applications”