Last November, Outsight, a specialist in developing software to process 3D spatial intelligence data from lidar sources, announced that they will be joining the Lidar Coalition. Outsight develops real-time 3D lidar software solutions, and their mission is “to make lidar-based spatial intelligence plug and play, ensuring it’s accessible to application developers in every market.” The company ensures their software is compatible with any lidar device, and is largely focused on allowing smart machines and smart cities to have a full understanding of their surrounding environment. Outsight becomes the founding software member of the Lidar Coalition.
The Lidar Coalition was founded in April of 2021, and is largely built up of lidar manufacturers and companies with ties to the autonomous vehicle industry. The original founders of the Coalition were: AEye, Cepton, Continental, Innoviz, Ouster, Quanergy Systems, and Velodyne. Currently, there are 13 organizations involved with the group, including the recently added Outsight. Generally speaking, the Coalition is an advocacy group focusing on the usage of lidar in infrastructure and autonomous vehicle systems. They engage in “public policy advocacy, educational efforts, and thought leadership to maximize the public benefit of lidar deployment.”
In joining the Lidar Coalition, Outsight continued what was a busy second half of 2022 for the Paris-based company. Prior to this announcement, they had announced a $22 million funding round, which was led by Energy Innovation Capital and the Defense Innovation Fund managed by Bpifrance. Their main product focus is with their Augmented Lidar Box, which is a plug and play device that embeds Outsight’s real-time lidar processing software. That software, the Edge AI Lidar Software, works in real time to process raw lidar data coming from any manufacturer, providing quick and actionable data which can be utilized by a variety of industries. In addition to working with autonomous machines and vehicles as well as smart infrastructure systems, Outsight’s software solution has been used by the forestry industry as well as facility operations for tasks such as people flow monitoring and volume tracking.
The focus in their work with the relatively newly-formed Lidar Coalition is going to be more on the vehicle and infrastructure side, with the group focusing on an emerging sector that only figures to become more prominent in the coming years. While the development of autonomous vehicles for commercial purposes hasn’t quite moved at the speed many expected a few years ago, progress is still being made and most manufacturers are using lidar for their core navigation technology. The same can be said for other autonomous machines used in agriculture, construction sites, warehouses, and other industrial settings. Similarly, lidar-based infrastructure systems used in developing smart city concepts are also becoming more popular, with companies like Seoul Robotics looking to lead the way in those use cases.
As these developments continue, it will be important that no shortcuts are taken and that the lawmakers and others creating laws and regulations round the technology have the maximum amount of knowledge and support. The Lidar Coalition looks to provide that from the side of manufacturers, and now with the addition of Outsight, software providers as well. That latter part was crucial to add, as the hardware is only part of the solution, and particularly with things like smart city development the software is going to be what most of the municipal employees will be using. The group is focused on promoting all of the value lidar and systems based around the technology can provide.
On joining the Coalition, Outsight’s president and founder, Raul Bravo, said in a press statement, “It is becoming increasingly well known how valuable lidar sensing hardware is for improving safety and lowering accidents. We are pleased to contribute to the Lidar Coalition by adding the software component that will accelerate and facilitate its mass adoption and hence broaden its beneficial effects.”
Ariel Wolf, the chair of the Autonomous and Connected Mobility Practice Group, who serves as the counsel to the Lidar Coalition, added, “We welcome Outsight to the coalition and look forward to their participation in the coalition’s work to educate policymakers who are pursuing innovative solutions to our nation’s transportation challenges.”