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An instrument in which a laser generates intense infrared pulses in beam widths as small as 30 seconds of arc; beam reflections and scattering effects of clouds, smog layers, and some atmospheric discontinuities are measured by radar techniques; it can also be used for tracking weather balloons, smoke puffs, and rocket trails. Derived from laser infrared radar.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(LIght Detection And Ranging) An optical technology that is used to sense the shape, motion and makeup of objects in the environment. LIDAR is used in a wide variety of disciplines, including airborne mapping, measuring atmospheric conditions and self-driving cars. LIDAR works by pulsing laser signals using all light ranges (ultraviolet, visible, infrared) and amplifying the light that is scattered back through an optical telescope and photomultiplier tube. A 3D map is generated of the surroundings. Sometimes called "laser radar," LIDAR uses light waves and not "radio" waves. See self-driving car.

LIDAR vs. Radar
In today's cars with advanced safety systems, radar may be used to determine the distance to the next vehicle on the road, and LIDAR can also be used for this purpose. However, because LIDAR emits nanometer waves rather than radar's millimeter waves, LIDAR provides greater granularity. The computer can analyze the returning LIDAR signals and differentiate between objects such as a pedestrian, bicycle or deer and make a decision accordingly. See radar.

LIDAR in the iPhone
For improved photos in 2020, the iPhone 12 Pro models added a LIDAR sensor to better sense the depth of the image. See iPhone 12.

LIDAR in a Self-Driving Car
LIDAR can be used to sense objects in front, back and on the sides of a vehicle. (Image courtesy of Phantom Intelligence,

Temi Moves on Its Own
The LIDAR module (red arrow) on the Temi personal robot is used to detect objects as it moves around the house. (Image courtesy of Temi,
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References in periodicals archive ?
In Japan, Mechanical LiDAR will reach a market size of US$124.4 Million by the close of the analysis period.
Even if the prices come down, Musk points to a fundamental difference in the way LiDAR works to manoeuvre an autonomous vehicle versus a mix of cameras, radar, GPS, maps and ultrasonic sensors that a Tesla uses to visualize its driving environment.
The JIP is intended for wind turbine and LIDAR manufacturers, wind farm developers, universities and research facilities, consultants and measurement institutes that are looking for guidelines to use LIDAR TI measurements for different applications.
The mechanical LiDAR market is anticipated to register a growth rate of over 32% during the forecast timeline.
On the other hand, Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, recently stated at the company's autonomy day, "Lidar is a fool's errand.
According to Chris Urmson, Aurora CEO, the use of lidar can offer greater vision, uses less power, measures velocity instantly, and is not as affected by poor weather.
More than $1 billion in corporate and private investment has been plowed into some 50 lidar startups over the past three years, including a record $420 million in 2018, according to a Reuters analysis of publicly available investment data.
Velodyne provides the smartest, most powerful lidar solutions for autonomy and driver assistance.
TriLumina, a provider of illumination products for 3D sensing in consumer, industrial and automotive systems, is launching its LiDAR and 3D Sensing Illumination Modules at the 2019 CES.
Mountain communities that have been prone to landslides could tap Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) for more accurate data on potential ground movements, according to Nancy Bantog, director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Cordillera.
The Laser That's Changing the World: The Amazing Stories Behind Lidar from 3D Mapping to Self-Driving Cars gathers lively accounts of an advanced technology that's changing the world, and considers Lidar's growth, applications, and the history of its development over the years.
has announced it has demonstrated its Scanning Topo--Bathy LiDAR System on DJI Matrice 600 Pro UAV during three missions in the span of a month, the company said.