Geo Week News

January 3, 2019

Ouster starts 2019 with a new $18k 128-channel lidar, offering big benefits for 3D mapping


In 2018, a big year for lidar, Ouster was responsible for some of the most intriguing systems to hit the market. Though 2019 is only a few days old, it already looks like a big year for the vendor: today, Ouster announced the OS-1-128 lidar system, a 128-channel multi-beam flash lidar that can be yours for the extremely competitive price of US $18,000.

Good news for 3D mapping

Director of Marketing Derek Frome tells SPAR 3D that the system is designed for vehicle-mounted use but offers big benefits for mapping work as well.

For one, Ouster’s special solid-state lidar architecture enables the company to make the OS-1-128 the same size and weight as its 16- and 64-channel siblings. “This is especially great,” Frome says, “for any handheld or backpack-mounted applications, where performance usually carries a significant weight and size penalty.” Drone-mappers might find a lot to like with the system specs as well.

(To find out more about Ouster’s multi-beam flash lidar architecture and learn why the company thinks they can offer future lidar systems at more than 10x the current resolution, check out SPAR’s article on Ouster’s technology here.)

Frome adds that the 128-channel system scans at 2.62 million points per second and offers a 45° angular vertical resolution that is “uniformly spaced through the field of view,” which “makes the point cloud dense and consistent.” Besides being valuable for mapping, this unusual feature is what allows Ouster to provide camera-like ambient imagery from their sensors, and, in turn, much better AI-assisted object recognition.

Lastly, he says the 45° FOV means fewer passes are required to map an environment.

Data from Ouster’s 64-channel lidar


Though at $18,000 the sensor could be affordable enough for a lot of mapping businesses, Ouster all but promises that this price will drop in the near future.

CEO Angus Pacala explained in an email that the OS-1-128 will be available in Q2 of 2019, with “much lower pricing in volume (starting at low hundreds of units).” Even for those who don’t buy in volume, the future is looking rosy, as Pacala says that “we see costs dropping with even modest volumes over the next 12-24 months” as the sensor moves through the adoption phase.

Keep an eye on SPAR 3D for more news about Ouster throughout the year.

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