Advantages of LiDAR | disadvantages of LiDAR

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of LiDAR and its working. It mentions benefits or advantages of LiDAR and drawbacks or disadvantages of LiDAR.

What is LiDAR?

• LiDAR is one of the optical sensing technology used to determine range of distant target and other parameters.
• LiDAR uses Near Infrared (NIR) and Visible Light frequencies to image objects.
• Laser beams are used to measure properties of scattered light and to create points for 3D mapping.
• LiDAR used three platforms viz. ground, airplane and space for its applications.
• The common applications include meteorology, space exploration, transportation, vehicle anti-collision, robotics, agriculture etc. It can be used to analyze targets with wide variety of materials such as dust, rain, non-metallic objects, molecules, chemical compounds etc.


The figure depicts typical block diagram of LiDAR system. LiDAR system contains laser part, photodetector, receiver electronic circuitry, scanner and optics, position and navigation subsystems etc.

Applications of LiDAR are as follows.
• Military: High resolution LiDAR gathers sufficient information to identify tanks and target them during war.
• Transportation: It provides safe transportation by delivering images with road contour, lane detection, localization and roadside vegetation etc.
• Geology : LiDAR creates high resolution digital elevation maps which lead to significant developments in geology and soil science. This helps in agriculture farming.
• Robotics: It is used in environment observation and object classification.
• Airborne LiDAR : It is basically a laser attached to the plane. It creates 3D cloud model of landscape during flight.
• Astronomy: Number of LiDAR systems are placed on observatories acoss the world. It helps in determining position of the moon with mm precision.

Benefits or advantages of LiDAR

Following are the benefits or advantages of LiDAR:
➨It provides very accurate surface measurements with the help of 3D mapping technique.
➨The use of low wavelengths by LiDAR allows detection of very small objects such as cloud particles.
➨It can be used to determine distance of moon from various observatories in mm precision.
➨It can easily be installed on three platforms viz. ground, airplane and space.
➨LiDAR used for localization and obstacle detection delivers 1.6 million 3D points per second.
➨It is most preferable for dense forest with large height differences.
➨LiDAR technology is very fast in acquisition and processing.
➨LiDAR technology is independent of weather and light conditions. It collects data at night and in slight bad weather conditions.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of LiDAR

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of LiDAR:
➨The performance of LiDAR degrades in bad weather conditions.
➨It is difficult to track using LiDAR.
➨It is very expensive.
➨It is not commonly used on satellite platform except GLAS.
➨Refer disadvantages of laser >> for more information.

Conclusion: As LiDAR system is used for various applications, the advantages of LiDAR and disadvantages of LiDAR vary based on its usage of wavelengths, its components and other parameters. Refer LiDAR vs RADAR >> for difference between LiDAR and RADAR.

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