When we last visited with Velodyne, it was all the way back in 2014 when the company quietly laid off audio staff, and suddenly – without warning – fired all of their manufacturer sales representatives and their dealers. Shortly after this, the company hired a high-powered retail executive (who would go on to eventually go to prison) to launch a direct-to-consumer business. Our coverage drew the attention of then Velodyne President Marta Thoma Hall, who is wife of company founder and chief engineer David Hall, leading to an interview with her on the many dramatic changes taking place at the company. Whew! That was a lot of action in a very short period of time.
Ultimately, it appears that David Hall got bored with audio and moved on with his new prized invention – an improved Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor technology that is important to the autonomous vehicle market. According to a report by Audioholics, Ford and China’s Baidu partnered to invest $150 million in Velodyne’s Lidar technology and Elvis…er…Hall…has definitely left the audio building. Velodyne split into two companies (Velodyne Lidar is now a $100 million public company [NASDAQ:VLDR]) and for a time last year, it looked like curtains for the audio division.