Hi to everyone at DIY Drones!

I don't know much about UAVs, my specialization is the design of laser products. I recently made a laser range finder by accident that might be useful in UAVs.

It started out as a project to design a new kind of chip that can measure events happening at the speed of light. Then, in order to prove that the chip worked properly, I had to make a test bed which turned into a laser range finder.

The chip has programmable performance settings so it can be used for either long range, high resolution or fast update rate measurements or some combination of these factors although not all at the same time. There is no minimum range, it works down to zero meters.

The best programmable settings give:

Best range >100m (to trees and grass)

Best resolution 1cm

Best update rate 100 readings per second 

You can see from the attachment that the range finder is quite small. The optics are made from acrylic so the whole thing is very light weight. It has an SPI connection to a host processor or it can have one already attached like in the picture. The laser is Class 1M. The optics are separate from the electronics so that they can be scanned with a servo or mounted on gimbals. It runs from 4.5V to 7.2V batteries and draws less than 200mA.

At the moment I'm looking to see if there is a market for something like this. I might consider producing small quantities for around $450. I'm not based in the USA so there are no export restrictions.

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do you have some dimension for the whole setup?

I'm sorry, but you specify a resolution - is this a 100hz imaging lidar, or just a tuneable but un-aimable spot size for a first return defocused beam?

Exactly how heavy is it, and what is the maximum field of view?

The circuit boards are about 60mm x 40mm x 30mm and the optics are 80mm x 70mm x 70mm including a front mounting plate.

This is just a straight forward laser range finder measuring to a single spot (not imaging). The laser footprint is less than 0.5m across at 100m. The weight is around 225g (8 oz) including a host processor and a front plate.

that's beautiful. how well does it respond to shock and vibrations? wonder what's the little black thing under this heli's belly http://www.flightschoollist.com/blog/2009/01/power-line-workersheli...

Should be good with vibration - all electronic components are low profile, surface mount and optical parts are high impact acrylic and carbon impregnated plastics. Might need to use a locking glue on the screws.

Also, there should be no problem getting it repaired, even after a major crash, since the laser is semiconductor.

Not sure what's under the heli.

The timing chip is not from Acam, it's a totally new design that does the timing of the laser signals and also handles all the range finder functions. Much easier to use.

You mentioned that the best range is greater than 100 meters, what is the longest range? Could it be aimed up to become a ceilometer (cloud height measuring device)? Any idea as to theaccuracy?

It's not been designed to measure off cloud base - most cloud LIDARs are running a much more powerful laser with a green color. The 100m range mentioned is off natural targets like the ground, trees or grass. The maximum range off a reflector is 350m.

The best resolution is 1cm and the short range accuracy is pretty close to this as well. Over 50m the accuracy drops off by about 1cm for every additional 50m but it's very difficult to verify.

we might be interested in that, can you pls send your email adrress ?


How does your laser rangefinder compare to these:


I have a couple of the 800 yard version, They are very nice, but don't offer centimeter resolution, Mine inc/dec at 1 foot intervals.. Work great out at 800 yards, down to around 18 inches or so..

I just read what I wrote, pretty confusing... :-)

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