SF10/A Laser Altimeter - no compromises.

The SF10/A is our latest generation of laser altimeters designed for fixed wing and multicopter UAVs. This uncompromising design has evolved from our high accuracy SF01 series with dramatically lower weight (31g) and excellent performance from 0m to 60m. Designed for serious amateurs or professional UAV operators, the SF10/A has been optimized to give high reliability data during the critical approach and landing phase of a flight as well as high accuracy data for precision hovering of multicopters.

Taking lessons from the popular SF02/F low cost laser altimeter, the SF10/A has analog and serial interfaces along with an I2C bus. In addition, there is a full featured USB port for changing settings such as the I2C address and analog span. 


Size comparison of the SF10/A (above) and the SF02/F (below).

The SF10/A draws 120mA from a 5V power supply and the readings update 15 times a second at a resolution of 1cm. A very high signal-to-noise ratio keeps readings stable and accurate right up to the full range of 60m, even in bright sunlight. This has been achieved through the use of wide aperture, aspherical lenses and narrow band optical filters. In addition, a low noise, high gain APD (avalanche photo diode) detector offers the best signal sensitivity possible.

Other advancements included fully shielded magnetics for low EMI emissions and susceptibility, a high speed, 12bit analog output for easy interfacing, adjustable damping and selectable fail-safe controls.

We are now accepting orders through our online store at Lightware Optoelectronics

I would like to give special thanks to NamPilot for initiating this project and providing his expert guidance and unbounded enthusiasm throughout!

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  • I must have missed the use of this product over water, if it is functional this would be useful. Hoping with some scaling of production the price will fall a bit. 

    Would love to add one to a few crafts we have in testing, possibly I can expand the budjet to include it

  • Price is too high.

  • MR60

    Can this device be used as a collision prevention warning system on my car? Often in traffic blocks when cars stop and go, it can help warn the driver about the distance and approaching rate of the vehicle in front. How conical if the laser beam? Wild I need some mechanical sweeping?

  • @Justice,

    We have used the SF02 over water - a salt water lagoon, and it worked just fine from our activation range of 33meters above the water. The surface was not glass smooth, but rippled from a breeze at the time.

    I believe the SF10 will be better...


  • @Naish88,

    I do not agree with the statement re I2C bus. We have used I2C exclusively on a large UAV - 45kg , 4m wingspan, with ALL surface actuation  servos, camera stablization servos ( 11 servos in all) as well a GPS. If the bus is implemented as per the Electrical specifications , I2C works very well. It is simple to implement, and easily debugged. CAN bus is superior, but more complex, and very few baseline sensors work on CAN ( static and dynamic sensors, etc) so you would have to support both on the autopilot - it is not needed -  it may be useful perhaps in controlling the ESC's of a multirotor in real time, but I2C is plenty fast and quite up to that task anyway.

    On the UAV described, we split the bus in two, mainly for redundancy - the wings wing had split Junker flaps, we have a split elevator, and so the bus was arranged so that one bus failure still allowed the other bus to control relevant surface halves, allowing a limp home flight. The I2C bus left and right halves are 2meters of cable each, with no problems, on a 2cyl spark ignition gasser.


  • Price is quite serious also but still sweet product for who really needs this. 

  • @Tearing,

    Its not really the value of the craft that is the issue - You cannot perform accurate, none damaging fixed wing autoland using only Baro Alt - Ultrasound sensor only work reliably from 4 to 6 meters AGL, and not over all surfaces ( brush and field grasses for example), and a 0.5millibar error or change in Baro height almost exceeds the Ultrasound detection range - trying to land 6meters up in the air does not work well often..$600 worth of sensors saves the cameras, the prop and motor bearings, the fuselage, etc...just 2 or there hard landings and you will be grateful for the sensor. There are many other uses for it as well - we are looking at servo'ing it and pan/tilt swinging it to fly inside of a canyon - in the North of Namibia flying along the Kunene River between the steep ravine walls, counting crocs in the river below and using it to range the distance to the ravine walls.


  • Thanks for the feedback naish88. We have planned for additional interface options (CAN/RS422/RS485 etc) and will offer add-on interface boards if there is enough demand.

  • Again a great product! after I bought the SF01 and SF02 an been really satisfied, I will buy this being sure will be up to expectations! The only downside is that still missing the CAN bus. I2C is great but if you have to place this far away from your flight controller ( more than 30cm ) than you can have issues. 

  • Taylor - we have the SF03/XLR available for longer range measurements up to 200m. But if I understand your question correctly, you are asking to measure beyond 122m. No comment at this time.

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