This article aims to clarify the meaning and function of LIDAR technology. Nowadays there is a lot of talk about it but what does LIDAR mean? And what is it for?

LIDAR is simply an acronym that stands for LIGHT DETECTION AND RANGING. So, let’s analyze all the words of the acronym and let’s start with the first one: LIGHT.

LIGHT – LIDAR technology is based on the principle of light. We all know that the speed at which light waves travel is 300,000 km / s – this is the time it takes for a light beam to hit an object and come back. You can now easily understand how fast the measurement will be. Going more in detail, in the LIDAR technology, we use a LASER light, it is to say a light focused in a narrow and intense beam.

Coming back to our acronym: the words after LIGHT are DETECTION AND RANGING.  

Therefore, to simplify the concept as much as possible, LIDAR is a technology that uses the speed of the light to detect and measure the distance of different parts of the vehicles.

But this is only a small part of what the technology can do.

In fact, LIDAR technology, which is behind the system of the laser scanner (the two terminologies are used indifferently) that allows you to create 3D or three-dimensional images. As the word itself says, the images will have three dimensions: a width, a length, and a depth.

In other words: the laser or LIDAR measures the exact distance of an object that allows you to position various points of the object in a space thus obtaining a 3D image that can be rotated and seen in all its sides and with the right depth and size and with a high precision.

There are of course other technologies to detect and classify vehicles. Here we will mention three of them:

  • Inductive loops
  • Doppler radar
  • Cameras with software analysis.


So, why choosing 3D LIDAR technology?

Cameras, for example, have a very high-quality image, but they create a 2D images as they detect only the width and length but not the depth. This is the reason why they are less precise than the LIDAR technology which we have said to be 3D.

One last detail related to LIDAR technology – laser scanner. This is used as a data source for the artificial intelligence algorithms that allow to reach high performance parameters that we will explain by means of examples.

These algorithms allow you to “split ” close vehicles. For example, if a car travels with a trailer, this is counted as a single vehicle. Why? Because it recognizes that the hook joins the two vehicles, while if two vehicles travel very close to each other due, for example, to a slowdown, they are detected as two vehicles. This accuracy is achieved with LIDAR technology only.

Let’s now concentrate on CLASSIFICATION: it is extremely important when we come to traffic application to distinguish a tanker from truck, that has of course a different shape from a car, a motorcycle or a moped. The classification can be done in more than 20 classes of vehicles. Moreover, when you come to know that a road or street is busy by trucks, cars or light vehicles, traffic manager can easily understand the maintenance needed or to divert the traffic flow to another road and/or schedule the road maintenance.

One last example: the LASER SCANNER or LIDAR technology also allows you to identify if a truck is transporting containers and how many containers are loaded. In a harbor, this information is essential and speeds up procedures that would otherwise take a very long time.

Finally, we still have an essential data that the laser scanner detects: SPEED. Detecting the average speed on roads, ring roads and highways allows you to detect any slowdowns caused by accidents and therefore be able to intervene in time to divert traffic and avoid queues.

In the specific case of COMARK we have three sensors with LIDAR technology which are our top of the range

  • LSR 2001
  • RSR4001

Please, go and visit our product and system page: www.comarkud.it/en/traffic