3D LiDAR sensor offers wide angle of view

October 12, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Panasonic has developed a 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor that measures the direction of, and distance to, objects with a wide angle of view, which is critical for autonomous operation of mobile robots.

Employing Panasonic’s laser-scanning technology, this 3D LiDAR is capable of scanning the laser as wide as up to 60 degrees vertically and 270 degrees horizontally.

The wide scanning angle aids precise detection of objects on the ground, as well as assessing the roughness of the ground surface. In addition, the range of scanning angles and the resolution can be tailored precisely by adjusting the rotation angle and speed of the mirrors in the system.

This feature gives users accuracy and flexibility to choose the most appropriate conditions for the measurement depending on their usage. That will facilitate the wide-spread use of autonomous robots that navigate inside or outside facilities with moving objects around, including people.

Panasonic says that its LiDAR is a step forward in the existing LiDAR ecosystem, with best-in-class wide angle detection range of vertical field of view of 60 degrees, and distance detection of 50m. This 3D LiDAR will come up with IP65 protection and M12 plug, hence is capable of withstanding all types of outdoor conditions, and will be applicable to autonomous navigation, as well as industrial forklifts, AGVs, mobile robotics, construction and smart buildings ecosystem.

Autonomous robots need to detect the condition of the ground as well as the objects around them since they will be operated inside and/or outside facilities with many moving objects including people. Conventional 3D LiDARs that are designed for autonomous driving of automobiles cannot scan the laser in a wide range of vertical angles.

Therefore, they cannot precisely detect the conditions of the ground. For this reason, conventional LiDARs need to be combined with other sensors that can detect the ground condition.

Existing 3D LiDARs, the company says, cannot detect objects around them with wide view angles especially for the vertical direction. Panasonic developed the laser-scanning technologies utilizing its proprietary design of optical system and motor controlling technology to move the mirror that have been developed for the mass production