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What are Radar and Lidar technologies?

ACHONWA ALVAN

Radar stands for radio detection and ranging system. Radar is an electromagnetic sensor that is used in the detection and tracking of objects from a far distance.

Radar was one of the rapid developments witnessed in 1930 with the purpose of meeting military needs at the time. In recent years, it has made remarkable improvements with valuable applications in air traffic management and navigation, ship navigation systems, and automotive vehicles.

Radar is unique because of its ability to capture objects at a distance in distorted weather conditions. Radar signal operates on the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum which is measured in hertz.

Operations of radar technology

Radar is known to be active because of the presence of a transmitter and receiver in its operation tools. Most radar systems make use of an antenna for this function. The antenna acts as both the transmitter and the receiver at a shared time frame.

The transmitter sends out a signal to investigate object details, and later the signal is collected by the receiver upon the collection of the observed data.

A radar can carry out this function under adverse weather conditions and makes use of a larger wavelength in its operation.

Applications of radar technology

  1. Radar systems are used to monitor available parking spaces in parking management systems.

  2. They are used in factories for thickness measurement, specifically in the measurement of non-metallic parts such as plastic tube extrusion.

  3. They are used in bio labs for the detection of combustible and toxic gases.

  4. They are currently being used in robotics and the engineering of industrial robots to determine the position of work-pieces.

  5. They are used in modern agriculture, like in drones for inspection and in precision farming.

Lidar technology

Lidar stands for light detection and ranging. Lidar came to light around 1960. It makes use of light pulses in the detection of an object on the earth’s surface. The light pulses generate accurate 3D information about the object from a distance.

Lidar works with three basic components; the scanner, laser, and GPS receiver. Some other elements that aid the working operation of lidar are photo-detector and optics.

The lidar system can operate in various forms, like airborne and terrestrial. Airborne lidar operates helicopters and is used for data collection as it emits light towards the ground. The sensor is returned just after covering the object on the ground and the distance traveled by the light pulse is also recorded. This system of lidar, where there is an aerial covering, is either topological or bathymetric in nature.

In the terrestrial lidar system, the measurement is not done on helicopters but on the ground with moving vehicles. It can be installed in moving vehicles to observe highways and analyze infrastructure.

Operation of lidar technology

Lidar operates with a simple principle: the lidar light pulse is released on objects on the earth’s surface and the time traveled by the released light from the source to destination and back to the source is evaluated. The travel speed of light is known as a constant.

Application of lidar technology

  1. Lidar is used in robotics for mapping and navigation, and for obstacle avoidance in self-driven vehicles.

  2. Lidar technology is useful in land mapping for faster land mapping, emergency response, and disaster assessment.

  3. Lidar technology is of great benefit in the agriculture industry. It helps identify land areas with optimal sunshine, fertilizer, and water application in growing crops.

  4. Lidar technology is very useful in meteorology. It helps in the study of cloud patterns, as its wavelength can detect particles in the clouds.

  5. Lidar technology is also applicable in archaeology as it helps in the discovery of hidden elements in the earth.

Differences between lidar and radar

One of the major differences between the two technologies is that radar systems make use of a larger wavelength than lidar.

Radar uses radio waves in its observations while lidar uses light for remote sensing.

Radar can run observation in the midst of adverse weather conditions as used in aircraft anti-collision systems.

Lidar is best for topography analysis as it gives clear 3D print results from its observations and is best for static environments.

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