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Lidar

Lidar

Light Detection and Ranging, a remote sensing method using light in the form of pulsed laser to measure variable distance.

Lidar, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of pulsed laser to measure ranges or variable distances. Lidar works much like radar or sonar which use sound or radio waves to discover something which cannot be seen. Except Lidar uses light, in the form of lasers, which reflect back to the Lidar device and allow that device to build a three dimensional map. Lidar is used by geographers, atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, factory robots and self-driving cars.

History

In 1960, Theodore Maiman built and demonstrated the first practical laser, which was used in 1962 by MIT scientists to measure the distance between the Earth and the Moon with a reflected laser beam. In 1965, Stanford Research Institutes Ronald Collins filed a patent for the laser-radar, Lidar, system to study Earth's atmosphere and weather. In 1969, Daniel Hickman and John Hogg published a scientific paper describing how airborne Lidar could be used for measuring ocean depth.

In 1971 Lidar was used by Apollo 15 astronauts to map the Moon's surface. In 1974, Alan Carswell of York University in Toronto invents a laser range-finder which perfects the possibility of scanning a laser remotely to make maps. The first textbook on Lidar was published in 1976.

In 1985, Optech, Alan Carswell's company, begins selling the Larsen-500, one of the earliest commercial Lidar systems.

NASA brought Lidar into space on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994 to study Earth's atmosphere from space in an experiment called LITE. In 2008 NASA's Phoenix Lander brought an Optech Lidar scanner to Mars to study the planet's atmosphere.

In 2005 Lidar systems were used as the eyes behind self-driving cars in the United States military's DARPA Grand Challenge. Darpa announced in 2015 the creation of Sweeper, a miniature Lidar system. Sweeper stands for Short-Range Wide-field-of-view Extremely agile Electronically steered Photonic EmitteR.

Geography, Oceanography and Atmosphere

In the use cases for geographic, oceanographic or atmospheric study, Lidar is used with a specialized GPS receiver often from an airplane or helicopter to acquire data over broad areas. In these studies, there are two types of Lidar: topographic and bathymetric. Topographic Lidar uses near-infrared lasers to map the land. Bathymetric Lidar uses water-penetrating green light to measure seafloor and riverbed elevations.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is using Lidar to produce accurate shoreline maps, make digital elevation models for geographic information services and to assist in emergency response operations.

Lidar can also be used in land management and planning, hazard assessment (including lava flows, landslides, tsunamis and floods), forestry, agriculture, geologic mapping, watershed and river surveys, measuring gases and particulates in the atmosphere, archaeological survey, climate monitoring, city planning, meteorology and mining.

Autonomous Driving

Lidar is being used to develop autonomous vehicles, as it offers computer-friendly data in the form of exact measurements which allows the vehicle to respond the terrain around. Cameras can deliver similar detail but require machine-learning software to translate the 2D images into 3D understanding and Radar systems don't offer the necessary resolution.

Lidar allows vehicles to create a comprehensive 3D map of the terrain around it and an attached computer would be able to distinguish the objects from one another and respond to the difference between a truck or a child. However, Lidar is unable to read signs and they can be disrupted in the case of limited visibility, and the current suggestion would be to use Lidar with a camera system in those cases.

Timeline

December 12, 2019

Aeva Unveils Lidar on a Chip

Aeva says its high-performance lidar will sell for less than US $500; VW is buying it.

December 11, 2019

Intel's RealSense camera brings hi-res lidar to small form factor.

December 11, 2019

Lidar sensors for combined smart city and AV ecosystem

April 2019

Aeva receives VW investment with smaller, longer-range lidar.

People

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Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

Application of an airborne pulsed laser for near shore bathymetric measurements

Web

NASA - Lidar In-space Technology Experiment (LITE)

Web

US3446556A - Meteorological lidar system with an improved information display - Google Patents

Web

August 2, 1965

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

All About Lidar, The Laser-Shooting Wonder Box That Could Make Self-Driving Cars

February 6, 2018

How Does LiDAR Remote Sensing Work? Light Detection and Ranging

November 24, 2014

Visualization of LIDAR data

June 24, 2011

What is LiDAR?

February 28, 2014

Companies

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News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Kirsten Korosec
March 6, 2020
TechCrunch
A little more than two and half years ago, Waymo engineers began working on a hardware sensor suite that would improve upon previous generations and have the capability to work on a variety of vehicles, from self-driving passenger cars to autonomous semi-trucks. The autonomous vehicle technology company is now showing off the fruits of its [...]
By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
February 19, 2020
Mail Online
A two-inch long piece of electrical tape was placed horizontally across the middle of the '3' on a 35 mile-per-hour speed limit sign, causing the Tesla's camera system to misread it as 85 miles-per-hour.
Chris Fisher
January 30, 2020
Nautilus
An underreported aspect of the climate crisis is that archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, biodiversity, and distributions of...By Chris Fisher
By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline
January 22, 2020
Mail Online
They are testing the vehicles at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, just north of Bristol to see how it navigates a large every day obstacles.
By Natalie Rahhal For Dailymail.com
January 7, 2020
Mail Online
Insisting that the 'car is the new entertainment space,' Sony CEO Kenchiro Yoshida introduced the tech company's first ever prototype for an electric car at CES in Las Vegas on Monday night.
By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline
January 8, 2020
Mail Online
The German tech giant Bosch displayed the autonomous shuttle at CES in Las Vegas to display its self-driving prowess.
By Michael Thomsen For Dailymail.com
January 8, 2020
Mail Online
An Israeli tech firm focused on autonomous driving systems shared an impressive new video of one of its vehicles navigating the cramped and crowded streets of Jerusalem.
By Michael Thomsen For Dailymail.com
January 6, 2020
Mail Online
This week, Agility Robotics announced the official release of its two-legged delivery robot called Digit, which it believes could change the 'last mile' logistics problems that has vexed delivery companies.
By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
December 23, 2019
Mail Online
Engineers redesigned an iconic 1981 DeLorean with a futuristic feature that Dr. Emmett Brown didn't think of -self-driving capabilities - and they successfully tested its drifting skills on an obstacle.
November 13, 2019
The Wire
Countries that are more vulnerable to vagaries of the climate, such as India, also lack the more precise data that could help them plan better.
By Milly Vincent For Mailonline
November 4, 2019
Mail Online
While overtaking the driverless car, moving at 5mph, a front and rear dash cam on the learner vehicle captured the autonomous car's bizarre response. Filmed in Woolwich, London.
By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
November 1, 2019
Mail Online
It has been more than a decade in the making, but Waymo's self-driving taxis are officially picking up passengers without a human operator at the wheel, but it is available only in Phoenix, Arizona.
BBC News
October 31, 2019
BBC News
The previously unknown site was found after a laser survey of woodland in the Forest of Dean.
By Milly Vincent For Mailonline
October 31, 2019
Mail Online
Archaeologist Jon Hoyle discovered the site, near the village of Tidenham, Gloucestershire, which he first believed could be a World War Two gun emplacement due to its 'extremely circular' nature.
Darrell Etherington
October 28, 2019
TechCrunch
We're still not at the point where autonomous vehicles systems can best human drivers in all scenarios, but the hope is that eventually, technology being incorporated into self-driving cars will be capable of things humans can't even fathom - like seeing around corners. There's been a lot of work and research put into this concept over [...]
By Sam Blanchard For Mailonline
October 21, 2019
Mail Online
California-based start-up, Tortoise, is developing technology which could drive public hire scooters and bikes back to places they're needed after people have used them and scattered them about.
Transparency Market Research
August 29, 2019
www.prnewswire.com:443
ALBANY, New York, Aug. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Fatalities involved in road accidents has risen considerably with an increase in the number of vehicles and...
May 29, 2019
WebWire
LeddarTech ®, an industry leader providing the most versatile and scalable auto and mobility LiDAR platform TM, is pleased to announce that LeddarTech's Mobility Leadership Series continues through the month of June with participation in several conferences across North America. LeddarTech's senior executives will present at Impulsion MTL 2019 on June 3rd, APMA's connectTEC conference on June 11th, and at the 2019 GSA Silicon Summit on June 18th. LeddarTech will also exhibit at TU-Automo...
Kenneth Macdonald
May 25, 2019
BBC News
The drones use lidar to create a 3D picture to assess the health of what lies beneath the forest canopy.
SHELBY FLEIG
April 27, 2019
AP NEWS
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- When Robert Bork, an art history professor at the University of Iowa, saw Notre Dame Cathedral in flames recently, he couldn't watch.
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