Hesai Technology, a provider of lidar solutions, and Cratus, a software solution integrator for lidar systems, have agreed a strategic alliance to develop autonomous warehouse solutions using Hesai’s “groundbreaking safety-rated” 3D lidar, the QT128.
Cratus has selected the QT128 as the lead sensor in its all-new lidar perception package for automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
AGVs and AMRs have been used for many years in warehouses and manufacturing plants to accomplish a variety of material handling tasks.
To date, these systems have mostly used 2D laser scanning devices which provide only a limited amount of perception data. Hesai says its QT model, with 128 laser channels, enables a multitude of new features for AGVs and autonomous forklifts.
QT128 has a 360 degree horizontal FOV, compared to 270 degrees or less from traditional devices. This eliminates AGVs’ blindspots completely, avoiding any potential safety risks caused by “not seeing”.
QT128 has also obtained ISO 26262 ASIL B – Performance Level D Functional Safety Standard certified by TÜV Rheinland. Lidar certified by functional safety can detect potential risks in electronic systems, sending an alarm to the autonomous driving system and initiating protections. This allows AGVs to operate safely and more efficiently.
Compared to 2D lidar, which typically has only one laser channel, QT128 has 128 laser channels. This not only provides additional safety redundancy but also enables rich 3D perception data. In situations where a single laser fails or gets interfered with by strong light sources like sunlight, a 2D lidar-equipped AGV would lose visibility.
However, with 128 laser channels, QT128 can continue to operate effectively, even in complex environments. This enhanced perception capability allows for various AGV applications, including outdoor operations and between-warehouse transfers.
Zeki Gunay, CEO of Cratus, says: “We are embarking on a revolution within the warehouse. These facilities are increasingly becoming more automated and efficient. By utilizing the QT128, with its recent safety rating certification, we are now able to release a host of new software products which will increase the capabilities and overall safety of these solutions within the material handling sector.”
Bob in den Bosch, senior vice president of global sales at Hesai, says: “Hesai is eager to support Cratus in its development of safety rated AGV and AMR applications. We are excited that Cratus has recognized the QT as a truly revolutionary product within this market.
“No other lidar sensor is able to deliver such accurate data to the perception stack and provide a performance level D safety rating that is required for this industry. We see Cratus as a very capable partner and first mover within the space.”
Cratus and Hesai will work together to release a series of drivers, middleware, and end solutions centered around the QT128 lidar sensor. These solutions will hasten the adoption rate of 3D lidar within the material handling sector and unlock new possibilities for robotic applications within the warehouse.