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Use Cases for Lidar – A Basic Introduction

image of Use Cases for Lidar - An Introduction
Use Cases for Lidar - An Introduction

This article in Electronics 360 is a basic introduction to a number of use cases involving the application of lidar to 3D mapping.

While light detection and range (lidar) technology has been around for decades — used in surveying and mapping by governments or for atmospheric research and meteorology — it has become popular as one of the key elements enabling self-driving functions in vehicles.

While the push to create fleets of self-driving cars moves on and progress is made, the move toward fully automated vehicles is likely to be slow, and automated functions are more likely to be rolled out gradually as the technology ramps up.

While lidar companies wait to begin mass producing the sensing systems for vehicles, they are looking to other markets that can also take advantage of the technology today.

What is lidar?

Lidar is a remote sensing method used to measure the distances of objects — rocks, a dog in the street, walls inside a building, curves in the road, the size of packages and more. Much like radar systems that employ radio waves to measure objects, lidar uses lasers to calculate the distance of objects and the light pulses from these lasers generate 3D information about those objects.

A lidar system generally consists of a scanner, a laser and a receiver, however, it is common to find sensors like accelerometers or speedometers, inertial guidance systems and gyroscopes in lidar systems as well as GPS.

On self-driving test vehicles, a lidar system is typically the whirling object mounted on top of the car or truck that spins around firing lasers in all directions to measure objects in the car’s environment. This helps pave the way in real-time for vehicles to drive without the assistance of a human. Outside of vehicles, lidar can be mounted on tripods or fixed to a handheld system with a video camera to collect data for surveying or mapping.

For the complete article on use cases for lidar CLICK HERE.

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