Amazing! This Small South African Tech Startup is Building Drones for Amazon and Google

SA based tech company, LightWare, impresses global tech leaders with its latest LW45 microLiDAR technology


LightWare, a South African based tech establishment, is taking the tech industry by storm. The company, though small in size, is attracting interest from two tech heavyweights; Amazon and Google. LightWare is positively assisting Amazon and Google. The tech startup is building the most compact and lightweight scanning LiDAR unit required in drone manufacturing.

LiDAR is known as a detection system that functions on the principle of radar but makes use of light from a laser. LiDAR can measure the distance to a specific target by illuminating it, using laser light, while the reflected light is measured with a sensor.

The company, LightWare, was founded in 2011 by James Portman, an entrepreneur who has also been involved in other tech startups. James Portman was Laser Measurement’s former managing director and founder. However, Laser Measurement was acquired ABB, a Swiss tech company. LightWare, on the other hand, is headquartered in Gauteng, South Africa.

It is also gradually becoming a leader as far as LiDAR technology development is concerned. The LiDAR units designed by this tech company is popular used by top tech leaders the world over.

Recently, Philip Constantine, a LightWare’s executive, explained to MyBroadband that “the company’s LW45 sense and avoid microLiDAR” units come designed to help solve problems a range of autonomous vehicles might be experiencing.

The basic thing about drones is that they don’t view objects in 3D. They only see the world as a line of codes, which makes them blind. Several tech companies have made serious attempts to overcome the challenges emanating from this 2D view via video and the use of machine learning to help detect obstacles.

However, according to Philip Constantine, “such moves undoubtedly give rise to newer complexities. You are invading people’s privacy when you take pictures or record videos. Furthermore, for you to process videos in real-time, the processing power required has to be massive.

Impressively, the LW45 from LightWare is unique and functions differently. What it does is to capture 3D objects (non-images) while the microLiDAR device onboard helps to process the data.

So, the LW45 is an upgraded device. With the way it functions, there will be no need for further processing. It also helps to eliminate privacy issues that may have resulted from off-video processing.

Also, this LightWare’s latest device does not only deliver an incredible performance. The technology behind the tool helps to lower its power demands, weight, and price point. The LW45 is also a wise choice when seeking optimal navigation as it is capable of providing real-time results.

Constantine also said, and I quote, “The superior functionality exhibited by the LW45 is made possible, thanks to the oscillating scanners. These scanners offer a wide range of 50m and functions off the user’s configured field-of-view on a horizontal plane.

Philip Constantine also claims that the LW45 holds up much better than its competitors. It weighs approximately 35 grams, while the dimension is 40 x 40 x 35mm. The lightweight and smaller size makes the LW45 much better than its competitors in terms of portability.

The company, LightWare, also claims that the LW45 democratizes machine perception, and is beneficial to drones. It enables drones to “fly much better and crash less.”

According to the company, “This superior machine, LW45, is ideal for altitude measurements, terrain following, and assisted landings, including position holding.”

“The machine is beneficial in diverse ways. It can help with in-flight decision-making processes and assist pilots not only to detect but avoid impending obstacles.

LightWare is billed to kick-start production of the LW45 microLiDAR in the year 2020, precisely in April. Currently, the company delivers its products to well-established international companies, and among them are global tech heavyweights.


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