Last Updated: Sep 19th, 2018 - I will be updating my original post as people correct me and I learn new things.
Well, I am next off to monkey around with LIDAR technology and interestingly there is not one single document available that can explain different LIDAR technologies available for PixHawk "or" Pixhawk compatible devices, what each device does, limitations, programmability etc.
I will attempt to take a shot at what I have learned so far but I would like the community to chime in so we can have a consolidated document for future reference. Just like a wiki page.
LIDAR = A detection system that works on the principle of radar, but uses light from a laser.
1D - Range Finders. Typically work in combination with FC such as PixHawk.
2D - Short Range Obstacle detection.
3D - Used for surveying, mapping and point clouds. A method that measures the distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representation of the target.
LIDAR Types: So it appears there are two types of LIDAR sensors as far as the technology goes behind it.
1. traditional LIDAR sensors
2. Time of Flight (ToF) - More to come later...
So what are the components of an overall LIDAR system/solution?
Well, first you need to decide what the LIDAR will do in the real life world. That will determine the type of LIDAR sensor you will need for your fixed wing aircraft or the copter you are planning to use.
Do you really need a flight controller like PixHawk? the answer is NO BUT it depends on the application. If the application is rangefinder or does object avoidance, Pixhawk along with Mission planner can support such application on a drone.
If you are going to use the LIDAR for Mapping or analysis, that's whole new setup but do you really need a flight controller for such LiDAR to work? My understanding is NO, as long as we can provide LIDAR with the position of the aircraft using a separate GPS and IMU for processing data.
LIDAR SENSORS - Bufete :)
I am planning to put a power point presentation at the end which will consolidate all the tips, discussions here for future reference. Thanks for joining the discussion.