What is the difference between a low cost, hobby grade LiDAR and a much more expensive survey grade LiDAR? The short answer is that there are lots of differences. So the challenge becomes figuring out how to use the latest technology to achieve survey grade performance in a small, low cost package.
Ideally, a LiDAR should have perfect performance so that exact…Continue
Making a small, low cost laser scanner for sense-and-avoid applications has been a objective of mine for several years. What makes this project challenging is the cost and complexity associated with motors and their drivers to provide the motion, position encoders to provide accurate aiming information and slip rings to pass the signals through the…Continue
LightWare Optoelectronics is proud to share with you some preliminary data on their new miniature laser range finder modules, the LW20 and the SF20 OEM version. These modules will be available later this year and as part of our program of supporting the DIY market we will be offering the OEM module to individual customers as well. The prices will be announced at the…Continue
We get lots of help requests from customers trying to configure the PixHawk and other flight controllers that are running ArduPilot software. The existing configuration interfaces, such as those found in Mission Planner, can be confusing, even for experienced users. We've introduced a "drone configuration" tool into our free…Continue
SUAS News posted an article today about the Kespry Drone 2.0, a commercial drone that is advertised as requiring minimal human input during a mission. It has a forward looking LiDAR sensor specifically for obstacle sensing and collision avoidance. This might be that first commercially available drone to have LiDAR as standard equipment.
Looking at their…Continue
With a range in excess of 100m and able to measure over water, the SF11/C is the most cost effective laser altimeter for drones on the market today. Compatibility with Pixhawk and derivative flight controllers and its multiple interfaces including serial, I2C, analog and USB make the SF11/C the easiest plug-and-play solution for altitude holding, terrain following and safe…Continue
The SF40 controller board
In systems that need precise timing and accurate waveform generation it is sometime necessary to separate out the time-critical elements from the non-realtime processing. Even though interrupts and realtime operating systems can improve the timing response of a processor system, microprocessors are…Continue
The SF40 - upside down :)
The SF40 is a smart sense-and-avoid system that detects obstacles near autonomous vehicles and determines the safest route past them. On-board data analysis reduces the need for complicated processing by an external computer. The built in analytical tools can sense the presence and position of…Continue
Drones have become an important tool for conservation work and we have seen them applied in game counting in Kenya, seal monitoring in the Arctic and for anti-poaching work in Southern Africa. One area of particular interest is in getting accurate size measurements of animals without direct human contact. LightWare has been assisting conservation groups with…Continue
The SF00 long range laser altimeter
Measurements of the height above ground up to and beyond 250m (820 feet) provide important information to many different types of aircraft. For commercial and military drones operating beyond line-of-sight or light aircraft and helicopters…Continue
At the recent InterDrone Expo in Las Vegas we were overwhelmed by interest in our latest sense-and-avoid technology using the SF40 laser scanner. It runs with 100% data saturation and I have discussed the theory behind this device …Continue
Small LIDAR (scanning laser) systems can be used for obstacle detection and SLAM from a moving drone. Whilst more work is still needed on the integration of the data from these sensors into the flight software, the theoretical performance can be evaluated based on the specifications of the laser and the mechanical movement.
Ideally, we would like…Continue
Laser range finders can be very effective in detecting even small obstacles at long distances from a moving UAV. To cover large areas the laser beam is usually…Continue
We've been working on a laser scanner that is light enough to be carried by a small drone. Click on the image above to see a short video of the scanning action. This prototype is based on the SF30/C and an extremely lightweight motor drive. Four slip rings are carrying power, alarm and an analog image that is updating at 2000 readings per second. The unit gives saturated laser coverage to detect even narrow…Continue
The SF30 laser range finder module has been designed to detect all kinds of different obstacles from a moving UAV. The most difficult obstacle to detect is an overhead power line because of its small diameter and dark color giving it a very small "laser cross-section". Add into this mix the issue of moving past these lines at speed and the real magnitude of the task…Continue
Developing a new product starts with a pretty clear idea of what you expect the finished thing to do. Mathematically, you can can work out the expected performance and logically you can understand how this performance translates into useful…Continue
Today LightWare Optoelectronics released the SF30/B obstacle detection LRF that updates at an astonishing 36633 readings per second and has a range of 50m in all lighting conditions. The introductory price of the SF30/B is just US$350.
The SF30/B is the latest light weight laser product from LightWare designed specifically for use in…Continue
LightWare Optoelectronics (Pty) Ltd is pleased to announce that the SF30/C high speed laser sensor is now available for pre-order. This lightweight (35g) LRF uses time-of-flight technology to detect obstacles as far away as 120m at the astonishing speed of 4000 readings per second.
The SF30/C offers both a serial port and an analog output allowing…Continue
Wide angle laser beams can detect and measure the range to people, trees and other safety critical objects from moving aerial or ground based platforms.
We've been experimenting with a new version of our SF10 laser altimeter to see what happens when we change the normally narrow, parallel laser beam into a wider, fan shape and align it horizontally or with a downwards tilt. There is a practical limit to the wide direction (major axis) of…Continue
The SF10 family of laser altimeters was designed by people on this forum. Requests for new features and numerous emails about performance and applications has lead to the development of a compact, light weight, rugged design that can be used in many UAV applications.
We've produce three different versions, each with the same features but having…Continue