Veteran of TDK, Xicato, IBM, Hitachi and Philips Joins 3D Sensor Pioneer
Morgan Hill, Calif. (June 10, 2015) – Velodyne LiDAR, a division of technology innovator Velodyne Acoustics, Inc., has named Pieter Kerstens Vice President of Engineering. Kerstens brings to Velodyne more than 30 years of experience in high tech engineering and manufacturing management within the U.S., Europe and Asia, for organizations that include TDK, Xicato, IBM, Philips and Hitachi, among others.
Velodyne is recognized worldwide as the standard for high-definition, real-time 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors for autonomous vehicle applications, effectively creating enabling technology for the industry. Velodyne introduced LiDAR during the 2004-2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and has since optimized the technology for a range of other applications, from unmanned aerial vehicles and mobile mapping to robotics and factory automation.
“Throughout his career, Pieter has consistently contributed to the delivery of world-class products while substantially improving processes and operations in vibrant, rapidly growing organizations,” said David Hall, Velodyne founder and CEO. “He’s an exceptional leader, with deep technical and business skills, and an extensive track record in motivating, mentoring and organizing high performance teams.“
“Along with David Hall, I personally recruited Pieter because of his strong technical qualifications and extensive experience in high tech manufacturing,” said Marta Hall, President of Velodyne Acoustics Inc. from 2011 to 2015 and now Velodyne’s Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer. “David and Pieter hit it off immediately because of their passion for science and invention.”
Kerstens joins Velodyne LiDAR from Headway Technologies, Inc., Milpitas, Calif., a $250 million hard disk drive component manufacturer unit of TDK. At Headway, he led the 24/7 manufacturing of leading-edge recording head wafers used by all major global hard disk drive companies, overseeing some 300 operators and supervisors. Prior to Headway, Kerstens served four years as VP of Engineering and SVP of Technology Development, for Xicato, Inc., San Jose, Calif., facilitating this solid state lighting startup to grow into a $30 million business by leading the development of LED modules, with industry-leading quality of light, integrated drivers and color tuning manufacturing processes.
Kerstens previously served as senior director of engineering for EUV lithography light sources at Cymer Inc. (now ASML), San Diego, Calif., then a $500 million global semiconductor equipment manufacturer. At Hitachi GST, San Jose, a $5 billion global hard disk drive company, he worked in senior development and manufacturing engineering management positions with successively increasing levels of responsibility.
For IBM in San Jose, Boca Raton, Fla. and East Fishkill, N.Y., Kerstens served in mid-level operations, engineering and business development management positions. He began his career with Philips Research, in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., constructing 3D maps from the images collected with a moving robot’s camera. He is listed as an inventor on 14 patents.
Kerstens earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, and an M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Lehigh University.
About Velodyne LiDAR
Founded in 1983 and based in California’s Silicon Valley, Velodyne Acoustics, Inc. is a diversified technology company known worldwide for its high-performance audio equipment and real-time LiDAR sensors. The company’s LiDAR division evolved after founder and inventor David Hall competed in the 2004-05 DARPA Grand Challenge using stereovision technology. Based on his experience during this challenge, Hall recognized the limitations of stereovision and developed the HDL64 high-resolution LiDAR sensor. Velodyne subsequently released its compact, lightweight HDL 32E sensor, available for many applications including UAVs, and the new VLP-16 LiDAR Puck, a 16-channel real-time LiDAR sensor that is both substantially smaller and dramatically less expensive than previous generation sensors. Market research firm Frost & Sullivan has honored the company and the VLP-16 with its 2015 North American Automotive ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) Sensors Product Leadership Award. Since 2007, Velodyne’s LiDAR division has emerged as the leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of real-time LiDAR sensor technology used in a variety of commercial applications including autonomous vehicles, vehicle safety systems, 3D mobile mapping, 3D aerial mapping and security. For more information, visit www.velodynelidar.com.