Why is IoT and LiDAR an exciting partnership?
The concept of IoT may sound curious, but us humans stand to benefit in many, some never even dreamt of, ways. What excites us at LightWare most is the possibility of managing almost everything – from our cities to our homes – more effectively.
Take agriculture, for example – an industry which has come under the spotlight as concerns around food security increase. Imagine LiDARs utilized in farming equipment, improving yield and enabling greater precision and efficiency. LiDARs can even analyze soil in a particular area, to make farming more efficient and help guide practices to avoid soil erosion. It has a role to play in crop analysis too, so that farmers can see what is working, where there is damage, and how they can improve their yields.
There are exciting applications for LiDAR in the mining industry, too – a sector that is, obviously, central to the wellbeing of so many economies. Experts are excited about how 3D perception may help to improve mining safety standards, while also boosting productivity. This can be achieved by using LiDAR to help machines navigate with greater care through narrow mining tunnels – this translates to a safer environment. LiDAR could also help detect danger areas, and even sense when people enter these restricted zones. In the case of shaft collapses, LiDAR comes to the rescue by detecting the whereabouts of survivors.
Life for city dwellers will also change for the better. For a start, LiDAR may be able to assist with improved transport infrastructure. Toll roads become far less congested when LiDAR is used to identify various vehicle types, so that they can be charged accordingly – a great timesaver for motorists, and one made possible by LiDAR’s ability to profile objects moving at speed.. And speaking of greater efficiency: installed at busy traffic intersections, LiDAR can provide data that may be used for better pedestrian management and traffic planning.
Then there are applications for LiDAR in building smart cities. By using LiDAR generated city maps, planners can see where pollution and smog tend to gather – and they can use this information to improve air quality and introduce initiatives to lower pollution. These 3D maps could also be used to create shadow maps, showing how the sun moves across the city throughout the year – information which is critical for planning solar energy projects and identifying key sites for solar panels.
At LightWare we are partnering with Smart City developers to implement LiDAR embedded “Smart parking meters” which interface with Google maps. These meters are able to direct travelers to available parking bays – which is particularly helpful in congested city areas. LiDAR was specifically chosen for this application, as unlike RGB cameras, pedestrian privacy is protected in the public domain. This innovative system uses existing infrastructure, is solar powered and even manages electronic payments.