Simplifying industrial autonomy with Danfoss and Ouster through the PLUS+1® Partner Program

The Supply Chain Squeeze

The ever-increasing demands of the modern global supply chain are pressing today’s industrial enterprises. Food crises and unpredictable supply shortages require increased flexibility and reliability, while consumer expectations for next-day delivery demand faster supply chain speed.  Industrial enterprises must deliver goods and services to more places, with greater flexibility, more reliability, all at a faster speed than ever before.

To meet these demands,  the supply chain requires an automation revolution. Look around and you will see the early stages of automation and autonomy across today’s industrial landscape. Automation is making traditionally manual jobs such as building new roads and bridges, constructing new housing developments, even harvesting strawberries faster, cheaper, and safer than ever before. The businesses and organizations that embrace automation today are poised to become the leaders of their industries in the coming decades. 

Automation, however, isn’t easy. Traditionally, robotics expertise and valuable engineering resources were required to build and integrate automation features like object detection and avoidance, path planning, and operator assistance. Due to this technical hurdle, only the industrial manufacturers with immense resources and dedicated divisions could afford to automate their machinery. On top of that, engineers at the most established companies are spending unnecessary time writing the same complex software for very common autonomy tasks. These challenges are slowing the pace of industrial automation and limiting access to only the largest companies. 

The Industrial Dream Team

Danfoss and Ouster are changing that. As a seasoned global leader in industrial technology, Danfoss is well versed in the complexity and design requirements of modern machinery. To reduce the complexity, time, and cost of development for automated systems, Danfoss has engineered the PLUS+1® Platform with a seamless integration for Ouster lidar sensors. With this development ecosystem, customers can simplify the development and integration of automated functionality, deploy the functionality faster and reliably, and reduce the time-to-market of these next-generation features. 

The PLUS+1® Partner Program with Ouster OS1

The PLUS+1® Partner Program

In order to develop systems that can perform tasks autonomously with operator intervention for backup safety only (level 3 autonomy), engineers must have a comprehensive set of hardware and software tools at their disposal. The Danfoss PLUS+1® Partner Program provides just that. Users can quickly and easily integrate perception, planning, decision, control, and execution layers in order to enable key functionality such as object avoidance. At the foundation of the PLUS+1® L3 Autonomous Package, the XM100 autonomous controller receives and interprets perception data and sends reactive commands to the machine’s steering, hydraulics, and actuators. Across each layer, users can incorporate Danfoss and partner hardware components, such as Ouster lidar, to seamlessly control and communicate with each other via a common, easy-to-use software platform

Automation feature set design pipeline
Automation feature set design pipeline

The complexity of integrating these components together to achieve automation can be daunting. That is why Danfoss engineers have developed a full software suite of development tools, including a dedicated compliance block for Ouster lidar sensor integration. With the PLUS+1® GUIDE development interface, building out autonomous features is as easy as dragging and dropping components to form functional block diagrams. The ease of use and simplicity of this platform can reduce development time by 50% or more, saving both time and money. 

Adding Ouster lidar to the Autonomous Control Library

Why Ouster?

Industrial equipment manufacturers are designing with safety, reliability, and performance in mind. Automated heavy machinery needs to be capable of accurately and reliably perceiving its surroundings at all times and in all conditions. Danfoss has been helping customers engineer these kinds of systems for decades and chose to partner with Ouster due to digital lidar’s proven performance and robustness in all environments.

“We are excited to bring such a great partner and technology onto our PLUS+1® platform,” said Peter R. Bleday, Head of Autonomous Vehicles at Danfoss Power Solutions. “This partnership will enable our customers to quickly and easily integrate Ouster lidar into their system, improving our customer’s time to market and increasing their capability to incorporate operator assist and autonomous solutions into their machines.”

Ouster sensors can already be found equipped on machines operating in some of the most extreme environments such as mines, ski slopes, or construction sites. The simplicity and robustness of Ouster’s digital lidar architecture not only enables the highest levels of ingress protection (IP68 and IP69K) but does so while guaranteeing continuous performance gains through regular firmware releases. This means that customers can have peace of mind knowing that their autonomous perception is both reliable and scalable to more use cases over time.

“Ouster is excited to partner with Danfoss as we seek to enable greater levels of autonomy across the industrialized economy with our digital lidar. The Danfoss PLUS+1® control interface makes it easy for OEMs and other customers to adopt our sensors on robotic machinery, whether it be indoor warehouse robots or autonomous tractors in the field. We expect the offering to reduce integration time and the end application’s time to market,” said Nate Dickerman, President of Field Operations at Ouster.

To meet the challenges ahead, greater levels of automation must be accessible to everyone across the modern industrial supply chain. Through the PLUS+1® Partner Program, Danfoss and Ouster are making that a reality. Find out more about how to leverage this partnership to automate your industrial equipment here.