13 May 2016 UAV-borne lidar with MEMS mirror-based scanning capability
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Abstract
Firstly, we demonstrated a wirelessly controlled MEMS scan module with imaging and laser tracking capability which can be mounted and flown on a small UAV quadcopter. The MEMS scan module was reduced down to a small volume of <90mm x 60mm x 40mm, weighing less than 40g and consuming less than 750mW of power using a ~5mW laser. This MEMS scan module was controlled by a smartphone via Bluetooth while flying on a drone, and could project vector content, text, and perform laser based tracking. Also, a “point-and-range” LiDAR module was developed for UAV applications based on low SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) gimbal-less MEMS mirror beam-steering technology and off-the-shelf OEM LRF modules. For demonstration purposes of an integrated laser range finder module, we used a simple off-the-shelf OEM laser range finder (LRF) with a 100m range, +/-1.5mm accuracy, and 4Hz ranging capability. The LRFs receiver optics were modified to accept 20° of angle, matching the transmitter‟s FoR. A relatively large (5.0mm) diameter MEMS mirror with +/-10° optical scanning angle was utilized in the demonstration to maintain the small beam divergence of the module. The complete LiDAR prototype can fit into a small volume of <70mm x 60mm x 60mm, and weigh <50g when powered by the UAV‟s battery. The MEMS mirror based LiDAR system allows for ondemand ranging of points or areas within the FoR without altering the UAV‟s position. Increasing the LRF ranging frequency and stabilizing the pointing of the laser beam by utilizing the onboard inertial sensors and the camera are additional goals of the next design.
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Abhishek Kasturi, Abhishek Kasturi, Veljko Milanovic, Veljko Milanovic, Bryan H. Atwood, Bryan H. Atwood, James Yang, James Yang, "UAV-borne lidar with MEMS mirror-based scanning capability", Proc. SPIE 9832, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXI, 98320M (13 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2224285; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2224285
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