LiDAR Technology: Unlocking New Possibilities for AGVs, Factory Safety, and Robotics

LiDAR Technology: Unlocking New Possibilities for AGVs, Factory Safety, and Robotics


This article introduces lidar's principles, technical features, and its AGV applications like precise positioning, path planning, and obstacle avoidance. This article highlights lidar's role in enhancing safety in factory operations and reducing accidents. It also discusses lidar's application in robotics for autonomous navigation and environmental perception. Lastly, it summarizes lidar's developmental trends, challenges, and future prospects in industrial automation and intelligence.

LiDAR Technology: Unlocking New Possibilities for AGVs, Factory Safety, and Robotics
Principle of LiDAR Operation
The principle of Lidar (LIght Detection And Ranging) is mainly based on the emission, propagation, reflection, and reception of laser beams. The Lidar system first emits laser beams towards the target object through a laser emitter. When the laser beam encounters the target object during propagation, it reflects, and some of the reflected light follows a specific path back and is captured by the Lidar's receiver. The receiver then measures the intensity of the reflected light and the time difference from emission to reception.

By measuring the time difference between emission and reception of the laser and combining it with the known speed of light, Lidar can accurately calculate the distance between the Lidar and the target object. Additionally, through scanning mechanisms, Laser scanner can also obtain information about the shape, size, and spatial position of the target object, thereby constructing two-dimensional images or precise three-dimensional images.
point cloud of lidar
Technical Characteristics of LiDAR
The technical characteristics of Lidar mainly include high precision, high resolution, long-range measurement, and multi-target detection capability. Due to the short wavelength of laser light, Lidar can achieve millimeter-level distance measurement accuracy, accurately obtaining the position and shape information of target objects. At the same time, Lidar has the characteristic of high resolution, allowing for more detailed information about target objects to be obtained by adjusting the angle and resolution of the laser beam.

Lidar achieves precise measurement and positioning of target objects by emitting laser beams and measuring the intensity and time difference of reflected light. Its technical characteristics such as high precision, high resolution, long-range measurement, and multi-target detection capability make Lidar widely applicable in fields such as autonomous driving, robot navigation, safety protection in factory areas, terrain mapping, and other areas.
Application of LiDAR in AGVs,  Factory Area Operational Safety Protection, and the Robotics Industry
In the application of AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), lidar provides precise navigation and positioning information by virtue of its non-contact detection method, fast and accurate localization, and ranging capabilities. By continuously monitoring the surrounding environment, lidar ensures that AGVs perform tasks safely and efficiently in complex logistics environments. Whether it's heavy-duty AGVs following material handling processes, intelligently executing unloading tasks as transportation destinations change, or handling, storing, and managing goods in the warehousing and logistics industry, lidar enables AGVs to achieve precise navigation and obstacle avoidance, thereby improving logistics efficiency, reducing labor costs, and lowering the incidence of collision accidents.
In terms of safety protection in factory operations, lidar also plays an indispensable role. In the operating areas of equipment such as elevators, robotic arms, flip machines, and sliding cars, lidar can continuously monitor the surrounding environment to ensure that no personnel or obstacles enter the operational range of the equipment. Once abnormal conditions are detected, lidar can promptly issue alerts or stop equipment movements, effectively ensuring the safety of workers and equipment. This safety protection function is of significant importance in improving factory production efficiency and reducing accident risks.

How do safety laser scanners differ from other safety devices?

Lidar emits light actively and does not rely on ambient light. Unlike cameras that passively receive light, lidar forms millions of points in space by emitting millions of pulses per second, outlining the details of objects in space. Due to its active emission characteristics, lidar is minimally affected by changes in ambient light.

1. Safety laser scanners have advantages in terms of installation location compared to light curtains. Aligning the optical axis during installation is also very easy. Even complex protection zones can be easily configured using intuitive software.

2. Compared to safety mats, safety laser scanners do not pose the risk of damage due to falling workpieces. Protection zones with safety laser scanners can be freely configured, making layout changes easy to implement. When changing layouts, there is no need to stock different sizes and shapes of safety mats to create different protection zone shapes.

3.Compared to other safety devices, safety laser scanners have fewer restrictions on installation location and protection areas. They are easy to install, with minimal risk of failure, making them effective safety devices for providing protection.

In the field of robotics, lidar has shown vast prospects for application. Whether it's service robots or industrial robots, lidar can provide precise navigation and positioning information, enabling autonomous movement and obstacle avoidance functions. With the assistance of 2D lidar, significant progress has been made in the field of mobile robots such as logistics robots, commercial cleaning robots, and delivery robots. As technology continues to advance and costs decrease, the application of lidar in the robotics field will become even more widespread, driving the rapid development of robotic technology.
Advantages of 2D Radar Compared to 3D Radar
When deciding between 2D and 3D radar, people's choices are typically based on specific application needs, cost considerations, and technological limitations. While 3D radar has significant advantages in obtaining environmental depth information, detecting obstacles, and constructing drivable areas, 2D radar remains more popular in certain scenarios.

Cost considerations: Generally, the manufacturing cost and technical complexity of 3D radar are higher than those of 2D radar. For applications with limited budgets or those not requiring complex environmental perception, 2D radar may be a more economically reasonable choice.

Application requirements: 2D radar primarily provides two-dimensional imaging. Although it lacks height information, it suffices for applications requiring only flat navigation or simple obstacle detection. For instance, in some straightforward automation scenarios, 2D radar may suffice.

Technological limitations: In certain environments or conditions, 3D radar may fail to function properly or experience performance degradation. For example, in heavy rain, snow, dense fog, and other weather conditions, the detection ability of infrared waves may significantly diminish, which could affect the performance of 3D radar. Meanwhile, 2D radar may be less sensitive to these conditions, thus potentially more reliable.
Lidar scanner application
Challenges and Development of LiDAR
LiDAR consumes relatively high energy. The emission of laser requires a large amount of power support, which may become a disadvantage in certain application scenarios, especially those requiring long-term operation or limited power supply.

Currently, the cost of LiDAR is high, which limits its popularity in large-scale commercial applications. Although costs may gradually decrease with technological progress and mass production, the current price remains a significant factor restricting its widespread application.

Additionally, LiDAR systems are highly complex. They involve composite applications of multiple technical fields such as optics, mechanics, and electronics, demanding high technical requirements from manufacturers. This complexity increases the difficulty of production and maintenance, potentially limiting its application in certain fields.

With the continuous advancement and innovation of LiDAR technology, its performance has significantly improved, including resolution, ranging range, scanning speed, etc., enabling it to better meet the demands of various complex scenarios.

With the rise of autonomous driving technology, LiDAR is gradually becoming one of the core sensors in autonomous vehicles, highlighting its increasing importance. According to industry forecasts, by 2024, the penetration rate of LiDAR in the global passenger car market will likely exceed 1%, further driving the market growth of the LiDAR industry.

From the perspective of market demand, since early 2024, several popular car models have started to come standard with LiDAR, which undoubtedly is a significant boon for the development of the LiDAR industry. This trend not only benefits the rapid development of the LiDAR industry but also brings enormous development opportunities to related industry chains.