LiDAR and drone technology are two of the most popular methods for collecting data to create 3D models for a variety of applications and industries. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and it is a direct measurement technology in which a function is physically hit with light and the reflection is measured. Drone photogrammetry, on the other hand, uses images captured by a camera mounted on a drone to reconstruct the terrain in a precise 3D model through the superposition of images and sufficient terrain control. LiDAR drones are any drone manufactured to carry a LiDAR sensor. The best use cases for LiDAR drones, how data accuracy is guaranteed when capturing a drone-based LiDAR, why LiDAR and high-resolution images are complementary technologies, new market opportunities for bathymetric LiDAR, and the different ways in which LiDAR is currently used are all important topics to consider when investing in this technology. The best investment for hobbyists, enthusiasts, or even smaller companies is a high-quality LiDAR sensor.
With advances in the technology used to integrate drones with LiDAR data, there has been a rapid increase in the number of companies using drones equipped with LiDAR as a comprehensive, full-scale 3D mapping system. LiDAR competes with traditional stereophotogrammetry since it was used to generate cutting lines (creating 3D polylines to represent elements such as curbs, retaining walls and bridges). The NV5 has just started to dedicate itself to everything related to 3D LiDAR since being able to see under vegetation and generate so many points on the ground has been an enormous advantage for the company. This LiDAR sensor detects targets with a range of up to 215 meters and has a light weight of 75 grams, making it a fantastic and lightweight LiDAR sensor that will work with several drones. Different combinations of LiDAR sensors and drone models and designs will produce different types of results and, in some cases, LiDAR is not the best method for 3D modeling. However, LiDAR technology, which used to cost thousands of dollars, now only costs a couple of hundred and, in a few short years, even these LiDAR sensors will start to come down in price. The best LiDAR drone for building inspection may not be the best for planning irrigation, so it's important to understand the intended use case before purchasing the LiDAR sensor.
It is also important to consider topics such as data accuracy guarantees when capturing drone-based LiDAR data, why LiDAR and high-resolution images are complementary technologies, new market opportunities for bathymetric LiDAR, and the different ways in which LiDAR is currently being used. Investing in high-quality LiDAR sensors can be beneficial for hobbyists, enthusiasts or even smaller companies. With advances in technology used to integrate drones with LiDAR data, there has been an increase in companies using drones equipped with this technology as a comprehensive 3D mapping system. As prices continue to drop over time, more people will be able to take advantage of this powerful tool.