Other uses of LIDAR

Are you familiar with laser remote sensing or more commonly known as LiDAR? This acronym refers to “light detection and ranging” or “laser detection and ranging”. LiDAR is best known for its ability to generate georeferenced point clouds in the field of geomatics. Yet this technology is quietly used in other areas, taking its use to a whole new level.

In astronomy, LiDAR has been used on several research projects. For example, during the Apollo program, lunar reflectors were installed on the moon to make it possible to measure the distance between the earth and the moon using a laser beam. Even today, this distance is measured with centimeter precision. LiDAR is also used to create a topography of the moon, but also of Mars.

Closer to home, LiDAR has also made its way into surprising areas, such as self-driving cars. It is used in particular for obstacle avoidance and parking in difficult spaces. It is thanks to the laser pulses which are emitted continuously that it is possible to detect the surrounding environment with an accuracy of up to 2 cm.

Another area of use is in the famous Apple iPhone. Paired with other sensors, it allows a much faster autofocus while the brightness is much lower. Basically, the LiDAR used in this device can accurately recreate the environment or object around it.

LiDAR has also found its place with the police on several fronts. First, it is used to calculate the speed of amoving vehicle. The laser is aimed at a vehicle, collecting telemetry data and thus giving the speed at which it is moving with accuracy. Then it can be used to capture information from an accident scene or a crime. It thus collects important geospatial data and valuable details for each situation.

Just recently, another innovation has emerged with LiDAR. It is an autonomous trolley for transporting luggage in an airport without any driver. Operated at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, it is the first of its kind. Traditionally, baggage carts are placed one behind the other like a train and pulled by a conductor. He can only move his load when all the carts are full. However, in this case, there is only one cart and it is completely autonomous thanks to a combination of LiDAR and GPS. The cart does not have to wait for other carts to be full before moving, increasing its efficiency.

There are still many more examples of how LiDAR is used in everyday life. Whether in the medical field or in the world of cinema and video games, LiDAR has made its way into the technology of today. It remains to be seen whether it will be the next innovation made with LiDAR.