Scanse recently announced that they have completed a pilot run of their low cost, 2D Sweep lidar sensor, finalized the mechanical dimensions and production is now underway. With a range of 40 meters and the ability to operate outdoors, not to mention the $250 price tag it is going to be interesting to see what the professional community does with this disruptive technology.
One of the co-founders explains the innovation behind the Sweep –
“Sweep is based on a new time of flight ranging method, which involves sending out laser pulses that are made up of a series of micro pulses. These micro pulses act as a kind of light based checksum, which allows the sensor to more easily correlate returning light to the known pattern, and achieve a phase difference measurement. This method is much different than traditional LIDAR, which uses a train of identical pulses to measure the phase difference between outgoing and incoming light.
The traditional method requires the pulses to be much brighter than ambient light, otherwise it gets drowned in noise. This requires high power lasers and finely tuned detectors. The new method we are using allows the sensor to use lower power components, which contributes to its low cost. This also gives it the ability to sense surfaces up to 40 meters away, even in noisy sunlit environments. A final added benefit comes from the fact that each pulse packet is unique, which means the sensor can reject multi-bounce returns (as they would come out of order), as well as light from adjacent sensors.”