Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology offer a wide range of advantages compared to other LiDAR types and platforms. While RGB cameras are excellent tools for photogrammetry, they have certain limitations that UAV LiDAR can help to overcome. This technology can be used to produce accurate 3D maps and models, and offers great potential for applications in hazardous environments, archaeology, topography, mining, engineering, construction, public services, surveys and research. Different combinations of LiDAR sensors and drone models and designs will produce different types of results.
In some cases, LiDAR is not the best method for 3D modeling, but it offers great advantages in hazardous environments where you don't want to send people and for inspecting areas that are difficult or impossible to travel by other means. UAV LiDAR has multiple advantages compared to aerial and ground LiDAR, including greater safety, cost-effectiveness, speed of data collection, and higher data quality. Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) are particularly useful for a wide variety of forest management applications, since the LiDAR UAV visualizes both the forest and the ground. The acquisition of LiDAR data from UAVs can be done in a timely, accurate and safe manner, and at a much lower cost than manned aircraft surveys. With the availability of innovative and compact LiDAR sensors, more companies can now easily mount a LiDAR system on drones and use the device for a variety of applications.
However, while there are all-in-one drones and full-service LiDAR packages, the best investment for hobbyists, enthusiasts, or even smaller companies is a high-quality LiDAR sensor. In addition, higher-strength drones are now available, which will expand the type of applications for which the LiDAR UAV can be used. As the cost of entry continues to plummet, it is almost certain that LiDAR drone technology will continue to be implemented in several sectors. This technology offers great potential for applications in hazardous environments where people cannot go or areas that are difficult or impossible to access by other means. The use of UAVs with LiDAR technology is becoming increasingly popular due to its many advantages over traditional methods. It is faster than traditional methods such as aerial surveys or ground surveys; it is more cost-effective; it produces higher quality data; it is safer; and it can be used in hazardous environments or areas that are difficult or impossible to access by other means.
In addition, Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) produced by UAVs with LiDAR technology are particularly useful for a wide variety of forest management applications. The combination of UAVs with LiDAR technology has opened up new possibilities for surveying and mapping applications. With just a few years of collaboration between UAV technology and LIDAR technology, impossible topographic challenges are becoming increasingly simple tasks. As the cost of entry continues to decrease and more companies invest in this technology, it is almost certain that UAVs with LiDAR will continue to be implemented in several sectors.