Vision & Optical


August 15, 2014

MORGAN HILL, CA – In another innovative application of LiDAR technology, Boston-based Essess has deployed Velodyne HDL-32 LiDAR sensors to help public utilities meet energy efficiency goals via advanced 3D thermal imaging.

A hardware and software technology company, Essess provides drive-by thermal imaging capabilities that enable utility and government clients to identify energy waste in buildings on an unprecedented scale. While Essess drives on public roads, it uses thermal cameras combined with real-time LiDAR sensors to capture 3D thermal video of the surrounding environment.

The imaging system consists of a custom-designed multi-sensor rig integrated onto the top of the vehicle. As the vehicle drives, the thermal cameras measure the heat signature of the buildings, and the LiDAR imaging rig captures the structures in 3D on both sides of the car, enabling Essess to image large geographic areas each night. The images are stored onboard the vehicle using a custom-built data recording system and then processed at Essess headquarters in Boston.

The HDL-32E from Velodyne’s LiDAR Division is part of a growing family of solutions built around the company’s Light Detection and Ranging technology.

“Our hardware and software capabilities constitute the single most effective way to capture heat loss and building envelope data via drive-by thermal imaging, and we’re delighted that Velodyne LiDAR technology is such an integral part of our solution,” said Tom Scaramellino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Essess. “Each camera captures data in a video format, meaning that we generate hundreds of thousands of thermal images comprising more than two terabytes of data each night. The Velodyne LIDAR sensors enable us to produce a 3D map of the physical environment and map buildings to parcels with exceptional accuracy.

“Essess’ thermal imaging technology was developed by leading MIT researchers to address the problem of identifying energy loss and facilitating structural improvements to building envelopes cost-effectively – an application that is a natural fit with our 3D LiDAR,” said Wolfgang Juchmann, Director of Sales & Marketing, Velodyne LiDAR.

The industry currently relies on on-site audits for residential and small commercial units -- difficult to implement on a large scale, given the time and expense required to conduct an audit on each unit. The inherent scalability of Essess’ thermal imaging technology means that electric and gas utilities can scan their entire service territories in a matter of days or weeks, deriving thermal and 3D structural intelligence that had been far too costly to obtain.

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