Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a system of measuring distances, or "ranging," using a laser to illuminate a target, then measuring how much time it takes for the reflected light to return to a sensor.
While the technology behind LiDAR goes back to the 1960s, and the theory behind it back to the 1930s, LiDAR is experiencing what appears to be the beginning of its major heyday.
Why now? The answer includes falling prices, smaller units and increasing ability to manage the vast data LiDAR systems collect. These three factors were holding the technology back for decades. In the race towards self-driving cars the three major players in the sensing arena are radar, visual-based cameras and LiDAR.
The ability of LiDAR equipment to achieve high-resolution makes it superior to other conventional optical instruments. This has led to enthusiastic adoption in applications outside the autonomous car effort.
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