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 obstacles.
The 'scope trace below shows the distance (yellow) and alarm (blue) outputs for a 360 degree scan. Straight forwards is in the middle of the trace.
The alarm has been set to pick up the four narrow poles spaced around the center of the scan. The unit can measure out to a radius of 100m and draws less than 500mA at 5V during operation. Interfacing is easily done by either monitoring the digital alarm or collecting analog results in order to draw SLAM maps.
This scanning laser can be used for accurate positioning in complex indoor or outdoor environments or for obstacle detection whilst the drone is operating close to the ground.
We will be packaging this prototype over the next few months and plan to release it with a retail price of US$999.00