LiDAR can make anything that moves, observes other moving things, or needs to measure volumes smarter and safer. That makes for many applications!
Many people first learned about the value of real-time LiDAR data (that focus on movement) thanks to the Self-Driving Car application, which will be widely deployed at scale sooner or (more likely) later.
That accounts for one long-term use case. Let's look for a hundred more.
Indeed, much more than a hundred other use cases taking advantage of the uniqueness of 3D Spatial Intelligence are currently being deployed or will be in the near future in a variety of markets.
The deployment of LiDAR is being fuelled by five mega-trends, take a look at our latest article on this if you want to learn more:
At Outsight we classify these applications in three main market segments:
The first application in automotive will be assisting the human driver in a safer journey long before fully autonomous cars hit the road at scale.
This is already a reality, for example key companies like Valeo have for many years successfully mass-produced the Scala sensor for ADAS.
While LiDAR sensors are still expensive for automotive mass-production, they are being used (with the right software like Outsight's) extensively for creating reference data useful for benchmarking the performance of traditional sensors such as Radar and Camera.
The novelty is that many other vehicles are leveraging the technology, including Trucking Safety using LiDAR hardware from prominent companies such as Velodyne and Ouster:
Trucks will use LiDAR in many situations, take a look at how Outsight's software is used for Autonomous Truck Convoy - beyond line of sight:
Ultimately any commercial vehicle working on either goods or people transportation will be equipped with advanced 3D sensing capabilities.
In this article we dive deeper into the Construction Site applications:
Beyond improved manned versions, the mobile robotics' market in the logistics space is poised to grow exponentially, both in outdoor/public roads an inside warehouses.
Hereafter an example of Port Automation using LiDAR and Outsight's pre-processing software:
As we mentioned in a previous article outlining the Macro-trends driving LiDAR growth, the exponential deployment of mobile robotics in many applications is a key driver of LiDAR market expansion.
Security and off-road surveillance robots are a rising star in the space, with key global leaders in the market, with specific positioning and differences, such as the companies Glocal Robotics and Rovenso.
Typically these applications require the ability to create a map and relocalize the LiDAR within the reference of this map, in real-time, one of the key features offered by Outsight's LiDAR software.
We're seeing many other applications arising in mobile robotics, in addition to Security and Logistics:
All of these robots have one thing in common: they are all in contact with the ground. What about the Sea and the Air? there are many applications both for flying drones and Maritime contexts.
Flying drones can be used in a variety of situations, including the majority of the ones we've discussed for mobile robots, where 3D real-time Situation Awareness adds a unique value and becomes a key enabling capability in many of them.
An advanced application of LiDAR real-time Software is the instantaneous detection of power-lines from Helicopters, preventing one of the main causes of accidents. We initially validated this using a Drone, before starting a successful collaboration with a major Helicopter manufacturer:
Similar to flying drones, much can be said about applications that are based on the sea, with some specific additional use cases beyond fully autonomous vessels, such as ensuring the Security of Bridges in waterways, and others that you may perhaps not suspect, like assisting in offshore wind farms' building and avoiding collisions in low-visibility situations.
This article enters into more details on the Maritime-related applications:
Even Localising vessels in GPS-denied environments such as tunnels, is an interesting case because IMU-based odometry quickly drifts significantly.
Another possible application is harbour surveillance and observation, thanks to advanced SLAM algorithms, providing a full panoramic view during day or night.
An interesting growing trend is the approach of incremental pathways to full autonomy that companies like Teleo are following in the construction and mining industries, retrofitting existing fleets with distant supervision and operation.
LiDAR provides a unique capability at it allows remote operation to happen in a third-person point of view: with software solutions such as Outsight's, you can create a super-resolution live map in real-time and short latency and displace the position of the virtual camera, so the operator can follow the scene as he was flying around:
Railway related applications require in many cases long-range LiDAR detection, that is only possible with few LiDAR models, but there are already several applications in this space that work with medium range ones, such a GPS-denied precise Localisation (i.e. Tunnels), long-distance Relocation in maps and surrounding vegetation monitoring among others.
Urban tramways also have a number of 3D Situational Awareness requirements that can be met without waiting for long-range LiDAR to become affordable due to their lower speed.
The word "Industrial" covers here many different situations, the number of applications are almost endless, so consider this as a quick overview of the most important ones:
A similar use case is the unique capability of LiDAR to assess Heap volume in real-time, as well as warehouse stock.
Construction sites concentrate in fact many cases that can be also found in factories and other contexts, including ensuring workers' safety around machines.
An interesting example is how we used the unique value of 3D sensing of LiDAR to provide a standard factory crane with 3D safety capabilities:
One of the key areas of rapid development for infrastructure-based LIDAR is Smart Cities and related fields (i.e. Intelligent Transportation Systems, aka ITS), where we are seeing dozens of different Use Cases happening now.
If you have been following Outsight, you're certainly aware we've deployed unique solutions in Airports, being able to anonymously track thousands of people and objects in real-time, deal with massive amounts of 3D data from dozens of fused LiDARs in real-time.
Many use cases are enabled by the capability of individually tracking everyone, everywhere, all the time.
Of course an airport is nowadays a small city, and the same technology is relevant to other contexts such as Retail, Train Stations, Amusement parks ...
Railway crossing alert:
And of course many inspection and Situation Awareness uses in many industries:
Unlike traditional intrusion detection systems, which typically detect intrusions at perimeter fences, LiDAR, when used with the right software, can identify and track intruders across an entire sensitive site by fusing multiple LiDAR sensors strategically positioned within the site.
Using Outsight solutions, integrated with the main VMS vendors such as Milestone, the intruder, detected and tracked, can be identified with a PTZ camera, driven by the software:
We could go on and on about applications, but you've probably figured it out by now: the list of LiDAR's applications is endless.
Anything that moves, monitors moving objects or requires measuring volumes can become more intelligent, efficient, and safe.
Outsight's mission is to enable a new generation of 3D-based solutions to emerge, thanks to our real-time pre processing software.