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LiDAR vs RADAR | Difference between LiDAR and RADAR

This page compares LiDAR vs Radar and mentions difference between LiDAR and Radar. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging and RADAR stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging.

The functions of LiDAR are similar to RADAR which is to track the position and movements of objects. The differences between them are mainly on working of each and unique applications they are used for. In both LiDAR and RADAR, energy is transmitted from transmitter towards object and reflected energy from object is received by receiver to determine various aspects of the object such as distance, size, speed, movement etc.


Following are the features of LiDAR.
• LiDAR is one of the optical sensing technology used to determine range of distant target and other parameters. It uses laser for its operation. Different wavelengths are used by LiDAR depending upon distant object material.
• 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.



Following are the features of RADAR system.
• It uses EM waves in frequency range from 3 MHz to 300 GHz.
• The radar transmits waves at about 3 x 108 m/s in the air.
• The EM waves transmitted towards target object are reflected from it. These reflected waves are received by receiver and are analyzed to determine size and range of target object and other parameters.
• It is mainly used for military and airport surveillance.

Following are the types of RADAR based on their principle of operation.
• Primary radar, Secondary radar
• CW radar, Pulse radar
• Monostatic Radar, Bistatic Radar
• Radar types based on applications of use e.g. Weather radar, search radar, automotive radar, ground penetrating radar etc.

Difference between LiDAR and radar

➤LiDar uses optical light frequencies where as Radar uses microwave frequencies.
➤The type of objects which are located and measured precisely by LiDAR and Radar are different in size and nature.
➤LiDAR uses charge coupled devices (CCDs) and lasers for transmission and reception. Radar uses antennas for transmission and reception both.
➤LiDAR can detect smaller particles with the use of lower wavelengths. Radar has limitations of target size due to use of longer operating wavelength.
➤The performance of LiDAR is degraded due to bad atmospheric conditions where as Radar can operate even in bad weather conditions.

Following table summarizes major difference between LiDAR and RADAR.

Difference between LiDAR and RADAR

Also refer diference between SONAR and RADAR >>.


Advantages and disadvantages of SONAR   Active Sonar vs Passive Sonar   Applications of SONAR   RADAR tutorial   Radar Measurements   Doppler Radar   FMCW RADAR   RADAR BANDs   RADAR SCOPE   Weather Radar   Ground Penetrating Radar System  RADAR RANGE and RESOLUTION 

Radar calculators

Following are useful radar calculators to calculate radar range, radar PRF, radar resolution etc.
Radar Range calculator   Radar PRF vs Range   Radar Range Resolution 

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