Ouster gaining momentum

Ouster has been announced as a finalist for the “Most Exciting Start-Up” category at the AutoSens Awards. They sit alongside Arbe Robotics, Metamoto, May Mobility, AEye and Hailo – all hoping to lift a trophy at the Awards ceremony on 19 September 2018 in Brussels. The Most Exciting Start-up award recognises the panel’s view of the most complete package, the genuine intent to create a business, change the world and be known as a force for change in a single small company of motivated, passionate people. A big idea, a dynamic proposition, a brave business model or a firebrand leader.

“We’re honored to be a finalist after three years of incredibly hard work, major advances in our LiDAR technology, and rapidly growing customer adoption.” comments Angus Pacala, CEO, Ouster. He continues, “Our team has made breakthroughs in both hardware and software, across every metric that matters, from range to accuracy to durability and cost. Being on the shortlist for this award adds to the validation that we are getting from customers – we appreciate that others are taking notice!”

Ouster came out of stealth mode just nine months ago with $30 million in total funding and the OS-1 LiDAR ready to deliver to customers. Over the past year, they’ve also announced the OS-2 64 with a range over 200m, and started delivering firmware updates to sensors in the field that improve range as part of their continuous improvement program. They’ve been granted four significant patents and have over 20 more pending, which will help to solidify their position as the technology leader for the next generation of LiDAR devices that reach the specs required by OEMs and do so at a cost that makes production-scale autonomous vehicles possible.

“In a market that’s as early in its development as AV, the thing that matters most is momentum. At this point, how fast you’re innovating could be a better indicator of long-term success than to be the biggest or most well-known brand.” said Robert Stead, Director of the AutoSens Awards. “While not everyone knows about Ouster yet, the excitement we see in the market is coming from the people that matter – their customers.” Ouster sells to the majority of OEMs and autonomous vehicle startups around the world, and have moved through the process of initial evaluation to reference design wins.

Ouster continue to push innovations in both hardware and software, and their most recent firmware update demonstrates continuous advancements in changing machine learning capabilities. When they started developing the OS-1 three years ago, it was clear that 2D deep learning research was far outpacing 3D deep learning research and that there were tradeoffs between 2D camera and 3D lidar modalities. They set out to bring the best aspects of camera and lidar together in a single device. This August, they released an open source visualizer that essentially blurs the line between LiDAR and camera. The OS-1 now outputs camera-like range, intensity, and ambient images in real-time alongside their 3D point cloud. They’re able to feed these images directly into deep learning algorithms that were originally developed for cameras, and change the pace of machine learning for automotive customers. Their work didn’t stop at producing a high performance, low cost, and power efficient LiDAR. They continue to improve on all fronts to create a full sensor solution for the autonomous vehicle market.

In the United States alone, there are nearly 100 deaths every day due to preventable auto crashes. Ouster are on a mission to end that by building the key technologies that will allow safe, autonomous vehicles to reach the mass market. Integrity is their most important value as a company – they believe in shipping products, not promises. Their product isn’t just an idea on a powerpoint slide, and their specs aren’t just wishful thinking. They’re actively shipping full-spec sensors to customers and partners.

When asked how winning an AutoSens Award could be beneficial to them, Pacala told us, “This would be validation for us that we’re living up to the high goals we set for ourselves from the beginning. We’ve focused all of our energy, resources, and capabilities towards developing the world’s most capable LiDAR sensor, and would now like to bring it to the masses. Our customers are excited, our partners are excited, and we hope that AutoSens sees us as the most exciting start-up as well.”

“If we win this award, we would want it to be because AutoSens thinks that we’re approaching the LiDAR market the right way – by building and shipping the best products. We saw a market that made bulky, expensive, and/or low performance products, and knew we needed to change that with a new hardware approach. In doing so, and by continuously pushing boundaries, we’ve created a product that is 30X smaller and 7X cheaper than leading competitors’ sensors, while outperforming on all specs. But we didn’t stop there – we used our unique hardware technology to change machine learning by being the first LiDAR company to output both 2D and 3D data simultaneously. We’re solving major challenges in the autonomous vehicle industry by making LiDAR data actually usable. ”

“This a crowded market with a lot of PR dollars spent over-promising and under-delivering. We’re going completely the other direction, focusing our efforts on quality and delivery and letting our product speak for itself. The Most Exciting Start-Up award would be a great validation of that approach and of our values as a company.”

Congratulations again to Ouster, and good luck! Join the celebrations at the AutoSens Awards and see who will be crowned the winner of the “Most Exciting Start-Up” category on 19 September at the Atomium, Brussels. Book tickets here >>

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