Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice


What is LIDAR and how does it work?

LIDAR is an acronym for (Light Detection and Ranging) that’s similar to RADAR technology (Radio Detection And Ranging). Where RADAR uses only radio waves to determine distance, angle and velocity of other objects, LIDAR uses ultraviolet, visible, or near infrared light (laser) to image objects.

This distance information can be used in adaptive cruise control to reduce speed from your original “set” speed as you approach slower vehicles in front of you, or it can be used to detect people, barriers, and other cars even when you’re not using cruise control.

LIDAR illuminates an area around your vehicle with invisible light. It them measure the amount of time it takes for light reflections to bounce back to the vehicle. Based on the reflection times, the advanced image processing technologies can determine the distance between you and the other objects.

LIDAR provides greater range and accuracy in all lighting conditions than RADAR or cameras, which can be blinded by direct light or fail to function in low light conditions. However, RADAR may work better in conditions where light may be scattered by rain, snow or particulate matter in the air.


Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) may use LIDAR alone or in conjunction with RADAR and camera vision systems and advanced image processing to help a vehicle driver increase car safety and driving safety. Both systems offer advantages and disadvantages. LIDAR provides high resolution to obtain better object discrimination. But as mentioned above, LIDAR is susceptible to light scatter. Radar may work better in those lighting conditions, but is not as effective when attempting to detect pedestrians, static objects, or objects moving laterally from your vehicle. Radar can also be confused by interference from nearby radars and from its own radio signals bouncing off nearby surfaces.

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat



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