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WPCS 2.1.7
WPCS 2.1.7

ArduPilot

NPO. Provider of open-source autopilot software and platform, to a global audience

Lidar Application

SF45/B LiDAR. Simple Obstacle Detection in size/weight constrained projects.

Relationship with LightWare

Partner and Reseller

Key Benefits

  • Good quality LiDAR
  • Responsive support

“LightWare LiDAR’s – they’re just really good LIDARs. And that’s really nice for us as when a customer buys them, they work. The hardware quality is good. Then on the Ardupilot software side, we get less support calls and that makes our lives easier.” 

“The other thing that’s good about working with you guys is that you’re responsive. You have developers who are right there, and we can contact them quickly and talk to them easily”

Background

Ardupilot is an open-source provider of autopilot software. They are regarded by many as the leading flight controller for most small, unmanned vehicles (SUV) across UAV, UGV and aquatic industries, in a wide variety of applications including and not limited to hobby and amateur, commercial, industrial and academic research. 

As a company Ardupilot is a non-profit, a project headed up by Randy Mackay, to develop open source software for flight controllers through the collective efforts of a team of freelance and volunteer developers. 

Ardupilot is both a partner and reseller of LightWare LiDAR’s, so Randy and his team understand our products very well. And with each new LightWare product release Randy and his team work tirelessly to develop and troubleshoot the driver for each of our LiDAR’s to ensure they integrate seamlessly, once launched into the market. This is a win-win relationship for both parties.

Problem

For most unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), operation beyond visual line of sight, obstacle detection and avoidance is a problem. Add to this, most LiDARs in the market today are either too big, too heavy or don’t operate well under direct sunlight. In some cases, there are those that fit these requirements but are very expensive.

Solution

With the help of Randy and the team at Ardupilot we were able to develop and launch a small and lightweight LiDAR sensor – SF45/B – which integrates seamlessly with the Ardupilot flight controller to perform, amongst other applications, simple obstacle detection on UAVs.

It is arguably the best in the market for what it is able to do. It is small (measures only 51 mm x 48 mm x 44 mm), lightweight (59 grams) and is able to scan up to 320 degrees, offering ranging capabilities from 0.2 m up to 50 m using a horizontal Field of View (FoV). It has an incredible update rate of up to 5000 measurements per second. The SF45/B works well under all lighting conditions which makes the this an excellent LiDAR for applications such as obstacle detection. The SF45/B sells for $449 making it a cost-effective solution.

Outcome

With the help of Randy and his team at Ardupilot we are able to produce cost effective LiDARs that solve real-world problems. They integrate quickly and easily to the Ardupilot cube reducing project turnaround times. This means that not only are we at LightWare able to solve for size/weight/light condition constrained LiDAR applications – but our users are able to realize the benefits quickly.

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