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Lidar Integration with INS

In recent years, the use of Light Detection And Ranging LiDAR technology has become increasingly widespread in a number of fields, including surveying. However, despite its mapping capabilities, LiDAR sensors do not inherently provide precise positioning. By combining a LiDAR sensor with an external position and attitude sensor – lidar integration – it becomes possible to create a very accurate point cloud via a process called georeferencing.

Inertial Navigation Systems INS, which rely on accelerometers and gyroscopes to provide continuous and real-time information about the position, orientation, and velocity of a moving platform are the perfect combination to use with a LiDAR for these use cases.

In practical terms, the use of an INS in a combination with a LiDAR can be summed up as follows:

Data acquisition: the data from the LiDAR and the INS are acquired during a survey mission.
Point cloud georeferencing: the data from the INS is used to georeference each LiDAR point: the location and the attitude measured by the INS will be used to apply, to each point of a 3D scan, a transformation from the LiDAR body frame to a global reference frame.

The 2 images below show a cloudpoint generated during an automotive test, before and after georeferencing and correcting orientation. These images highlight how an INS and LiDAR complement each other.

images of lidar integration

This operating handbook aims to describe the interface between a LiDAR and a SBG INS from the Ekinox / Apogee / Quanta / Navsight range with the objective of creating a point-cloud using direct-georeferencing methods. This handbook will focus on the 2 key challenges in the integration of an INS with a LiDAR:

Mechanical installation: There are multiple possible concerns when conceiving the mechanical parts of an INS + LiDAR system. The guide will detail the most crucial pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Synchronization: it is important to ensure that all the clocks of the devices in the systems are aligned to the same time reference. This is mandatory in order to match measurements from the INS and the LiDAR (or other sensors), leading to precise georeferenced data. This guide will use an SBG Navsight-S and a Hesai LiDAR Pandar-XT as an example on how to achieve the synchronization, but the same notions work with a different INS or a different LiDAR.

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