September 16, 2021
Why I joined Baraja: to unlock autonomous vehicle capabilities
Yannick K Lize, VP of Research & Development
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One of the biggest hurdles to achieving Level 3 and 4 autonomous vehicles (AVs) is having high quality data from the sensors. Artificial intelligence has made huge improvements in identifying, assessing and reacting to advanced scenarios from noisy cameras and lidars – but until AI is equipped with better, more reliable data, there is a ceiling on what it can achieve. A high performance lidar is the answer to breaking that ceiling and achieving the leap in performance required for Level 3 and Level 4 AV.

When Baraja offered me the position of Vice President of Research & Development (R&D), I was more than intrigued. Not only did my background in LiDAR, tunable lasers and optical component and system R&D, fit the role perfectly, but after examining the technology, I understood that Baraja had developed a LiDAR that would finally unlock L4 autonomous driving.

The Baraja LiDAR has dozens of benefits, many of which we don’t even discuss, and is completely different from any other LiDAR on the market, including the LiDAR I had been developing in my own startup. The Baraja LiDAR has solved problems that the industry has been stuck on for years and checks all the boxes for a road-ready automotive LiDAR sensor. I truly believe that Baraja will rise to become the definition of high performance LiDAR.

What sets Baraja apart

One of the things I was missing in my LiDAR start-up (and what every other LiDAR company is missing) is Baraja’s core technology: a robust and high quality scanning method.

Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan™ technology has solved the issues of fast axis scanning, creating a fool-proof scanning system that provides high-resolution, long-range and detailed data. The best part is that, though complex in application, Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR is beautifully simple in its approach. Using prism-like optics and high tunable lasers, Baraja has developed a fast axis scanning method that provides the resolution and clarity necessary for automotive application – without any trade-offs.

Spectrum-Scan™ technology has dramatically increased our beam quality, which is critical for resolution and range. It has also eliminated common LiDAR issues, such as beam divergence, smearing, speckling, interference and other inherent problems faced by other leading LiDAR manufacturers. Finally, because it requires no-moving-parts and fewer components (of which most are already in mass production), the Baraja LiDAR sensor is capable of meeting requirements for cost, scale and size.

Before joining Baraja, I undervalued how critical fast axis scanning is to achieving a high-performing LiDAR. Now, after seeing all the problems Baraja has solved through its solid-state fast axis, I have realized just how revolutionary this solid-state fast axis scanning technology is.

The Baraja Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR is groundbreaking and 10 years from now when competitors begin to catch up, every LiDAR on the road will have some version of this technology.

The power to execute

Yannick K Lize, VP of R&D

Aside from the technology itself, one of the most important components to success in the tech space is execution. Great technology gets you in the game, but it’s great execution that makes you win. When deciding to join Baraja, it was this drive and ability to execute that drew me in.

Founders, Cibby Pulikkaseril and Federico Collarte, went from developing an idea in their garage to building an international team of incredible talent, securing funding, partnering with Tier-1 supplier Veoneer, and selling their vision to stakeholders. I am also impressed by the amount of work that has already gone into the development of the LiDAR to get it to where it is today. Seeing the advancements of the Baraja LiDAR shows the dedication and winning mentality of both the leaders and the talent, who all work tirelessly to bring the technology one step closer to the road.

Now, I have the opportunity to work with these individuals and further develop the product so we can achieve high-volume, low-cost manufacturing. Building a product that can be manufactured in high volume requires a lot of planning, project management and risk mitigation. Each day, we are working on tasks that need to be accomplished now so we can hit our goals months and years from now.

Not a lot of companies have the experience and drive required to succeed with this long-term planning. It’s something you have to learn through experience, and that is exactly what myself and our growing team of talent in California and Australia is bringing to the table.

Every step is critical and every day is a race. Waking up each morning knowing that what we’re working on that day is not only having a direct impact on the future of the company, but contributes directly to enabling a full autonomy future for the entire world, is very motivating – and I think everyone on our team feels that way.

Winning the gold medal

Before joining the tech industry, I was a water polo player on Canada’s national team for eight years, including many great battles against Australia’s national team. Training for five hours a day, every day, requires not only physical strength but most importantly mental endurance and dedication. I’ve carried this mentality throughout my technical career and try to instill it in everyone I work with. At Baraja, the company culture is built on teamwork and dedication. I truly feel we have an Olympic-worthy team and we are poised to win gold in the LiDAR industry.

If you’re ready for a winning LiDAR solution, contact our sales team at Baraja today.

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