If self-driving cars really are the future, they won’t be able to succeed without a trusty pair of ‘lidar sensors’—the lasers fired out to make continually updated 3D maps of the outside world, allowing them to spot obstacles and adjust to unexpected changes.
One of the companies offering such technology is Ouster, a two-year-old startup that has so far raised $90 million in contracts with clients in industries including transport, agriculture and construction.
Eyeing further growth, it’s picked up a new client: Serve, an autonomous delivery robot created by Postmates, which will be gearing up for commercial sale in Los Angeles later this year.
The robot aims to revolutionise personal delivery. Serve will also make use of cameras and light detection to navigate pavements, and its work will be overseen by a human operator who has the power to take control if things go awry.
“Whether you’re grabbing a late-night burrito or on your morning run, Serve is designed from the wheels up to join you in your neighborhood,” Postmates writes about its all-electric vehicle on its website.
“Why deliver a two-pound burrito in a two-ton truck?”
— Ouster (@ousterlidar) July 25, 2019
For Ouster, entering a competitive market largely dominated by Velodyne, the partnership may become very beneficial if Postmates expands operations into other cities. Ouster has also partnered with COAST Autonomous on its range of low-speed autonomous shuttles and with Ike Robotics and Kodiak on their respective lines of self-driving trucks.