Miniaturizing LIDAR Systems

I saw this question last week – “With UAVs coming on how small can we get a LIDAR sensor package?” Unfortunately they don’t give the dimensions in this article, but it certainly appears from the context to be heading in the right direction. Flight Landata, and I am sure a number of other companies, has also been working on this for 10+ years.

Can someone add dimensions and weight to this discussion? What size UAV would be required?

I am at the Riegl 2012 conference. Jason Amadori, LIDAR News contributing author has the keynote on merging mobile mapping platforms, there are a number of interesting user presentations and technical sessions scheduled.

Stay tuned for updates on Twitter.

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2 Responses to Miniaturizing LIDAR Systems

  1. There is a statement in the article mentioning the size (approximate) :
    ” … reducing such systems to the size of a shoebox …”

  2. W.J. Lentz says:

    Perhaps some limiting parameters are in order. A small lidar could be easily built in one cubic inch using a laser diode and (hybrid) PMT which could count photons. The problem that I see is the optics to collect the light. It is often the collection optics and filters that limit performance once the laser power is set.

    There are dragonfly sized UAV, but almost any uav today can carry a lidar that would allow ranging to a few km. I have instrumented UAVs ranging from about 10 pounds to Predator or larger sized, and weight and power are not usually the problem. The problem is where does the receiver lens go?

    By the way, I have a lidar for a Cessna nose lying around – the SBIR went bust and I never got paid. It had a sub-nanosecond green 10uj laser designed for terrain ranging. I designed it with 1 ns range bins, but it would be easy to go to 100 ps nowadays. It was shoe-box sized with a 6″ receiver lens.

    I suggest that this discussion be split into ‘desired information to be returned’ and size/weight categories. There are too many undefined parameters.

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