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WPCS 1.2.0
WPCS 1.2.0

MicroLiDAR™ 101

Ever wondered how much more our machines could achieve if they had the power of perception, as humans do? LightWare has – which is why we’ve set out to make it possible for machines to sense their world.

We do this with LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging; a technology which is increasingly gaining traction as a tool for measuring distance. This is achieved by using light pulses, which measure the distance between objects with extreme precision. 

The applications are endless, from geospatial scanning and mapping to sensing, which is where we at LightWare excel. Our microLiDAR™ sensors are leading the world in helping machines gain a better sense of where they are in space, which has massive implications for avoiding obstacles and improving efficiencies. LiDARs may be airborne or terrestrial or, as in our case, they may play a role in IoT.

Fun fact! The first laser shot into prominence during the 1960s, where it was initially used on aeroplanes for terrain mapping. Nowadays, though, lasers have a place in almost every single piece of technology around.

How does LiDAR work?

It’s all about the Time of Flight (ToF) principle: LiDAR emits pulses of light into the environment. These bounce off objects and then return to the source. Timing this action lets you know how far the pulse has travelled. With multiple nano-second pulses sent and received during a single second, it becomes possible to read distance with outstanding accuracy.

Fun fact! The formula experts use to achieve the exact distance of the object is: the distance of the object= (Speed of light x time of flight)/ 2.

LiDAR and eye-safety

Our microLiDAR™ sensors achieve the perfect balance between accuracy and reliability (traits which diminish as waves get longer) and safety, which is typically compromised by shorter wavelengths. 


How microLiDAR™ can change your world?

Our microLiDAR™ sensors act as eyes for ground robots and UAVs. By enhancing their 1D and 2D ‘visual’ sensory perception, they boost a machine’s abilities – including obstacle detection, altitude measurement, avoiding objects, and simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) – even when operating underground, at night or in poor weather conditions.


The benefits are manifold: our ultra-light microLiDAR™ sensors allow for extra flight time, for example. Most are low powered and have their own light source, which means they produce efficient results even in low light environments – and, as a further plus, accuracy is not affected by the colour or texture of the target surface, or by the laser beam’s angle of excellence. In fact, our microLiDAR™ sensors can withstand changes in background lighting conditions, wind and noise. As an added bonus, because they use light points to produce an image, rather than photography, you can use them without contravening privacy laws.


How does LiDAR measure up?

LiDAR is more effective than ultrasonics (especially for long range sensing applications), detects distance and range more accurately than cameras, and produces clearer high res images than RADAR.


Need more reasons to choose a microLiDAR™ sensor? Consider that compact microLiDAR™ sensors have fast update rates of up to 20 000 measurements per second. They’re also easily integrated with other components, including flight controllers like the Pixhawk or Autopilot, and they can be mounted with either a horizontal or vertical lens orientation. Lightweight and remarkably small, they easily overcome constraints usually associated with height and weight. 

Please note that, most of our products are assembled with IP67 lenses, but the back-end containing the PCBA and connectors are not protected.


More LiDAR Basics

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The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a seemingly futuristic system of interrelated, Internet-connected machines and objects that are able to both collect and transfer data and make decisions. This data is transferred over a wireless network, without human intervention via sensors, and other embedded technologies.