This article in Signal Online provides an in-depth look at the U.S. Army’s use of LiDAR as part of the BuckEye system of which I am proud to have been a part of the development effort. What makes the BuckEye so useful is that it is an unclassified system that the troops have been successfully using in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been quite effective in finding improvised explosive devices – IEDs, among other missions.
They have recently reduced the weight of the system by 250 lbs. so that it can be flown more easily on a drone. Army engineers are also working with industry to improve the capability tenfold.
Currently, the BuckEye system scans and collects data from about 100 square kilometers per four-hour mission. “With BuckEye 2, which is what we refer to the prototype as, we’ll collect about 1,000 square kilometers in that same time period. By increasing the power of the laser, you can fly from a higher altitude, and when you go to a higher altitude, it improves your swath of the ground,” says Harper, who declined to name the company collaborating with Army researchers until the prototype and testing are complete sometime this fall.