Lidar: Precise Mapping and Surveying Technique

Surveying and mapping techniques have always been crucial components of any industry. Numerous industries and applications, such as engineering and planning, architecture and archeology, mining, agriculture, forestry and environment, automotive, industrial safety and automation, atmosphere, transportation, and crowd monitoring and security, have been using these techniques to achieve precise data for their need. This data helps the companies and industries to save production costs, provide products and services of utmost qualities, maximize productions, avoid catastrophic failures, and discover the underlying facts, among other benefits. However, the traditional methods of surveying and mapping have been proven to be inaccurate, costly, and time-consuming. Therefore, the companies rely on lidars for accurate and precise mapping and surveying.

BIS Report on Lidar Market — A Global and Regional Analysis

Lidar, or light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing method leveraged for measuring the distance of an object. According to the American Geoscience Institute, a lidar makes use of a pulsed laser to calculate an object’s variable distances. These light pulses generate accurate 3D information when the information from the lidar systems is put together. A lidar sensor depicts numerous advantages, such as a better range, accuracy, field-of-view, positioning, night-time performance, and weather conditioning, over other sensor systems. However, lidars face operational limitations while detecting signs and differentiating between obstacles. Owing to this fact, lidars are used in sensor fusion-based systems, i.e. the combination of lidars, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors, among others, is used for precise autonomous operations. Furthermore, lidar manufacturers are working on the development of lidars with higher resolution to improve the performance of the lidar-based vision systems. The lidars can be classified on the basis of technology


§ Mechanical Lidar: Mechanical lidars are traditional lidar systems and are considered the first generation of lidar sensors. These mechanical spinning lidar system sensors consist of multiple moving parts arranged to generate and emit an array of laser beams toward the targeted area. These lidars are bulky and highly expensive and are prone to wear and tear in tough terrain.

§ Solid-State Lidar: Unlike the traditional electromechanical lidars, solid-state lidars are manufactured entirely on a single chip. All the components of the lidar such as emitter, receiver, and processors, are integrated on a single chip. Since these lidars are built on microchips, they are compact in size. Additionally, they are not visible upon installation, and are light in weight and cost efficient.

The lidar sensors are deployed by the following methods:

Airborne Lidar: With an airborne lidar system, the lidar is installed on either a fixed-wing aircraft or a helicopter, wherein an infrared laser light is emitted toward the ground and returned to the moving airborne lidar sensor. The airborne lidar sensors are further classified into topographic and bathymetric lidars.

Terrestrial Lidar: Terrestrial lidars are capable of collecting very dense and accurate data points, allowing for the precise identification of objects. These point clouds are used to conduct highway and rail surveys, manage facilities, and even render 3D city models for interior and exterior spaces. The terrestrial lidar sensors are further classified into mobile and static lidars

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