Multi-channel Lidar

press_release_07_11_2016_a_milestone_for_laser_sensorsOne of the more interesting announcements to come out of an electronics trade fair in Munich, Germany last week involves a four channel solid state lidar sensor. Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH of Regensburg, Germany is showcasing a prototype four-channel laser that is said to take LIDAR (light detection and ranging) systems for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving a step closer.

With an extremely short pulse length and four parallel output channels, the prototype laser offers new options for detecting objects and a unique vertical detection zone, says Osram. This can be used for the first time in scanning LIDAR sensors based on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Such solutions do not need a mechanism to re-direct the laser beam, so they are less susceptible to wear and tear. Together with Innoluce (an Infineon Technologies AG company and specialist in laser scanner technology) Osram says that it is showcasing what the future of LIDAR systems may look like.

The overall system covers a field of view of 120° horizontal and 20° vertical (with a resolution of 0.1° horizontal and 0.5° vertical). In daylight the range for detecting vehicles is at least 200m and for pedestrians 70m.

But don’t get too excited the system will not be available in mass production until 2018. A lot can happen in that time period as there are a number of companies such as Velodyne that are working on solid state lidar.

Posted in Autonomous vehicles, Business Development, Sensors | Leave a comment

USIBD Conference a Success

usibdIn their quarterly eNewsletter the USIBD reports that their recent annual conference was a great success. In addition to the outstanding program and networking they also provided training and testing on their specification for Level of Accuracy in building documentation.

Bryan Merritt, Symposium Chair commented, “We had a SPECIAL announcement from FARO during the event. They previewed, in BETA format, the integration of the USIBD LOA specifications into their PointSense software. This is HUUUUGGGGEEEE for us. It provides a colorful and graphical comparison of the point cloud compared to the model using the LOA criteria. So you can choose the LOA standard you want to review and SHAZAAM, using a color display you can see where within your model you adhere or fail the spec. Very cool!”

This grassroots organization is beginning to reach critical mass. Kudos to John Russo and the many volunteers that are making this happen.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Business Development, Conferences | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tesla Lidar Update

tesla_model_s_indoors_trimmedLast week we posed the question to our readers – will Tesla eventually use lidar technology?

You answered with a resounding “yes”.

Sources are now saying that you are right. Check out Smart Stock News for one article on this lidar hot topic.

Thanks for answering our Lidar News poll.

Posted in Autonomous vehicles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mapping Landslides with Lidar

cascade%20landslide%20complex_with%20landslide%20boundaries_galley%20proofA recently released USGS report finds a number of landslides that were not previously recognized due in large part to the dense forest cover.

They note that, “Newly acquired lidar imagery has allowed researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey to identify and map over 200 landslides in the western Columbia Gorge, Skamania County, Washington. Lidar is a revolutionary remote-sensing technique that provides images of terrain, from which vegetation and structures can be digitally “erased” to show the underlying bare ground. Formerly hidden by the forest, telltale landslide indicators such as scarps, cracks and ridges, slope depressions, bulges and toes can be clearly seen in lidar images of the landscape.

The landslides were mapped and evaluated using a combination of lidar; InSAR, another imaging technique that detects subtle ground movement by radar from satellites; GPS; isotopic and tree-ring dating; historical records and field work. The results show that landslide occurrence in the map area has spanned thousands of years; about a quarter of the landslides are estimated to have moved within the last 1000 years, and 12 have moved within the last 20 years or are currently moving.”


Posted in airborne LiDAR, Environmental, Forestry, remote sensing, Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bio-indicator Lidar

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

A research scientist at NASA Goddard has developed a lidar-based sensor technology that can detect organic compounds which would be an indicator of life as we know it, now or in the past.

Once on another planet, the device, which the team calls the Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument (BILI), will search for plumes of dust from its perch atop a mast on a rover. When it finds a viable dust sample, it will pulse UV light from two lasers through it and study the way the particles glow in response. That can alert the scientists back on Earth to the presence of organic particles, their size, and even how recently they may have been created.

The key is to develop a library of bio – lidar signatures here on Earth for the compounds and their concentrations.

Click here to learn more.


Posted in atmospheric, Government, remote sensing, Research, Sensors | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Lidar and Autonomous Vehicles

2014-03-04_geneva_motor_show_1187Lidar is one of the sensor technologies that most autonomous vehicle manufacturers are including in their navigation packages – Tesla being the most vocal about their belief that it is not required.

For the most part the leaders in the 3D laser scanning systems that are used for traditional aerial and static workflows are not working on automotive applications. The business models are much different.

One area  where the two do intersect is in the development of the high definition, 3D mapping required for highway speed navigation. This presents opportunity for the geospatial mapping firms to engage with the automotive industry and the solid state lidar manufacturers. As the GIS professionals like to say, “It’ all about the data.”

This excellent article in Inside Unmanned Systems provides a detailed discussion of the state of the art and the marketplace.


Posted in 3D Modeling, airborne LiDAR, Autonomous vehicles, Consumer, The Industry | Leave a comment

Computer Applications in Archaeology

caaIf you are interested in applying 3D technology to the field of archaeology then you might want to attend the Computers in Archaeology conference being held in Atlanta, GA March 14 – 16, 2017. The host is Georgia State University.

This has been primarily a European conference so this is a great opportunity to make some new contacts. This is the home page for CAA International.

Thanks to Meg Waters for the heads up. She is an expert on the use of ground penetrating radar and 3D laser scanning.

Posted in archaeology, Conferences, cultural heritage, remote sensing, Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lidar Data Processing

forestThis practical, one hour video (produced by Esri) provides an excellent overview of how to make use of lidar data to solve geospatial problems such as creating intensity images, developing DEMs and DSMs and estimating tree height and density.

Click here to get started.

Posted in airborne LiDAR, Forestry, Software | Tagged | Leave a comment

Be Inspired

beBentley Systems’ Be Inspired Awards which are part of the Year in Infrastructure Conference opens on Monday in London.

The name for this event really tells it all. As some of you know I consider this the premier built environment technology user conference of the year. The level of the presentations from companies around the world are unmatched, but it is the passion that comes through, both from the customers and the Bentley staff that make this event truly inspiring.

It’s one thing to advertise to keep your company’s brand in front of your customers, but it’s another to have your customers promote the value of your products/services to an international audience of senior executives.

Next year’s conference moves to Singapore where Bentley’s software is being used to create one of the most sophisticated 3D smart cities in the world. The top 3 submissions in each category are reimbursed for their travel and hotel so I’ll let you know when the call for submissions rolls around next year.

I hope to see you there.

Posted in Conferences, Education, Software, Technology, The Industry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hailstone Research using Handheld 3D Scanners


A large hailstone, about 6 cm

Why research hailstones? Well for one, hail damage causes well over $1 billion dollars in insured loses every year. Second, in my opinion, hail is pretty incredible.

Handheld 3D scanners were used in field settings in 2015 and 2016, capturing scans of more than 40 hailstones.  According to Ian M. Giammanco of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, this is the first time hail research of this kind has been conducted.

While this may represent a fairly small dataset, the study proves that this research method is viable.  The idea I find most interesting is creating 3D models from the scans that can be tested for aerodynamics, strength, impact testing etc. We’re likely to see much more of this kind of research down the line.

You can check out the abstract here for more details on this study.

Posted in Weather | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment