I think we should hack this baby for a laser altimeter.


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Comment by Melih Karakelle on August 28, 2010 at 10:53pm
I have two LRF since few months for same reason :)
Boxing, lens shields and connectors ready but i didnt find the time for writing the codes :(
Hacking is possible, weighs around 200gr and range is 300 meter with 1m resolution (1km only possible with a laser reflector)
Comment by Ryan on August 28, 2010 at 10:57pm
I'm thinking auto land?
Maybe indoor navigation?

Comment by Melih Karakelle on August 28, 2010 at 11:33pm
Minimum measurement range is 4 meter for this device, mean: indoor usage impossible.
I guess it is great for altitude holding by the ground but autolanding..., maybe you should try Sharp IR sensors or ultrasonics.
Comment by Hein on August 28, 2010 at 11:39pm
Was thinking of the same, would be great if you could get it reliable, having distance to ground from 300 meters opens up all sorts of possibilities. Over an above landings it could be used to fly low, "hug" the ground, at say 10-20 meters depending on frequency you can get readings at.

Comment by Brian Wolfe on August 28, 2010 at 11:54pm

Bought this Bosch laser tape measure a few months ago for the same reason. Still havn't had time to do anything with it.

If you shop around it can be had for $80. It has a continuous measurement mode, but don't expect more than about 4 updates per second. I figure it could be used to calibrate the baro altimeter and the baro could be used for quicker updates when ground hugging, otherwise maybe put it on a servo for indoor mapping.
Comment by Gerry Lichter on August 29, 2010 at 1:51am
I'm really excited for developments in software processing of 3d laser scanner panoramic images from digital video.

Lots of proof of concepts in Matlab and such, but what's really needed is an OpenCV library and GUI for CAD data generation.
Comment by Patrick Hammer on August 29, 2010 at 2:15am
Soething to keep in mind ........

I've some [basic] experience trying to hack these DIY store type laser range finders at work, for use in single figure, and sub-single figure (degree) antenna positioning. Two difficulties appear common to many of the "budget" off-the-shelf laser range finders:

- model movement over a certain rate (and it's a rate well well below what most model UAV's will be moving at), and they struggle to produce any meaningful calculation (distance)

- laser reflection off surfaces - they tolerate very limited breakup of the reflected laser. A smooth tarmac/concreate landing surface may be okay, but anything like grass or sand and they run in problems.

Then off course, as has been pointed out, there is the issue of update rate - which introduces a whole bunch of other limitations, which will eliminate most of them for inclusion in landing applications.

Impossible - mmmmmm........ a lot of work me thinks.

Comment by Hein on August 29, 2010 at 2:58am
Just read some reports that state tarmac is not the best due to the non reflective nature. It seems like these are not all equal, there are industrial ones available for either dark or light surfaces. Starting to think they might be too unreliable for unpredictable surface areas. There goes my surface hugging idea ...

Comment by Mark Colwell on August 29, 2010 at 2:59am
From AVUSI show, AGL Laser Altimeter based on Bushnel rangefinder is available from Latitude Engineering, for use with Piccolo Autopilots with firmware 2.0 uses RS-232 So it is possible and should work.
Comment by Mike on August 29, 2010 at 3:45am
A laser rangefinder for UAVs already exists, good range and update rate and accurate - weighs something silly like 35g but costs about $2,500 - its been around for a while but obviously at that price not the top of the shopping list. If anyone is interested in buying one I can maybe dig the link and emails out.


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