Just a few years ago, Drone required the cooperation of an aircraft, a large LiDAR sensor and a crew to capture images. With airborne LiDAR sensors and sophisticated software, the LiDAR images were processed quickly in the clouds to inform the user's decisions. This has been greatly improved with the rapid development of LiDAR sensors. It is understood that the UAV LiDAR sector continues to grow at a high rate, especially in the last 2 years. In a very short period of time, the world's best aircraft lidar sensor manufacturers have designed a wide range of lidar sensor products for small drones.
The output power of these UAV LiDAR sensors is excellent and they continue to improve as more and more manufacturers enter the field. In the coming years we will see the majority of LiDAR sensors used in the autonomous drone sector.
I. Lidar Sensors for Drones
Lidar light-sensing ranging is a remote sensing technique that typically uses a pulsed laser beam to scan the surrounding environment and measure the time it takes for the signal to return from the scanned object to the detector. Using the principle of laser time ranging, distances from one metre to several kilometres can be measured. To increase the measuring range of a LIDAR system, invisible near-infrared laser pulses can be used. These lasers have a much higher power than continuous wave lasers and are also the laser power that meets the safety requirements of the human eye.
During the scanning process, the LIDAR system scans individual distance points from which a 3D image of the surroundings can be calculated. The laser scanner uses a deflector to deflect the laser beam, thus achieving a very wide field of view. Most current LIDAR systems for aerial drones can rotate around an axis and provide 360° visibility. They are also capable of very high data rates of over one million point distances per second.
II. Use of UAV LIDAR Sensors
In a LIDAR sensor, a single device integrates several independent elements and will generate critical ranging data for precise positioning and safe navigation. Lidar sensors have the ability to detect obstacles over a wide field of view, making them ideal for sensing and avoidance solutions. LiDAR is the leading technology for automotive collision avoidance and autonomous drones. Collision avoidance technology has now penetrated the consumer drone sector.
III. Working Principle of LIDAR Sensors
1. emitting laser pulses
2. recording of the echo signal.
3. distance measurement (time of flight x speed of light)
4. retrieval of plane position and altitude
5. Accurate calculation of the echo position.
IV.Autel Drones LIDAR Sensor Applications
The EVO Nano series and EVO Lite series of Autel consumer drones feature three-way obstacle avoidance with six obstacle avoidance sensors, while the EVO II series features omnidirectional obstacle avoidance with 12 visual obstacle avoidance sensors and a main camera, ultrasonic and dual IMU sensors. which making it easy to build 3D maps and plan paths over complex terrain in real time.