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In this episode, the Roswell Flight Test Crew learns about the Velodyne LiDAR puck from Cameron Gieda, who represented the company at the Drones Data X conference in San Francisco earlier this year. The puck contains 16 lasers mounted in a spinning array, and the system measures the time it takes for each beam to intersect with an object and reflect back to it source. Using this system, it is possible to construct a very detailed, three-dimensional map of the surrounding environment, in much the same way radar uses radio waves to detect an airplane in flight. At present, the primary use for LiDAR is in cars which incorporate autonomous driving capabilities. On board drones, it has the potential to be a very powerful map-making tool for applications such as civil engineering, forestry and disaster recovery.
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