LiDAR Enhanced Video: Your Next Generation Surveillance Solution

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What is LiDAR? While it might appear to be a futuristic word, LiDAR has actually been around since the 1960s. 

In short, it is a sophisticated form of remote sensing technology, working on the principle of radar but using the pulse from a laser to collect measurements – these are used to create 3D images, models and maps of objects and environments. 

In the 1960s, one of LiDAR’s first use cases was to be attached to aircraft and emit laser light towards the surface of the earth to provide distance readings. 

Today, the application of LiDAR technology has become more widespread. 

According to research by Fortune Business Insights, the size of the global LiDAR market is set to surpass $6.7 billion by 2026, a monumental increase on the $1.32 billion spent on LiDAR in 2018. 

This represents a compound annual growth rate of some 22.7% during the 2016-2019 period, reflecting an increasingly busy and competitive landscape across a diverse range of applications, including automotive, healthcare, aerospace and defense.

In the security space, LiDAR technology is already proving it carries a string of benefits and upgrades on what is currently available on the video surveillance market. While video is the primary sensor used by the security industry to scan and observe the environments around us, fusing it with LiDAR creates a system with two highly powerful sensors.

Indeed, the major upside of LiDAR enhanced video is that it brings a high level of detail to a physical environment that other individual sensors simply cannot provide.

In the security space, LiDAR technology is already proving it carries a string of benefits and upgrades on what is currently available on the video surveillance market. The major upside of LiDAR enhanced video is that it brings a high level of detail to a physical environment that other sensors simply cannot provide. 

This can be achieved in different ways. 

Spinning LiDAR, for example, captures a wide field over a long range by rotating lasers in a vertical column several times per second. 

Increasingly popular alternatives are chip-based products with minimal moving parts, such as MEMS devices. These involve a single sensor pointing at a very small moving mirror which can be shifted to capture an image of a desired space. 

Flash LiDAR enables a faster data capture rate and is less susceptible to image vibration. It works similar to a digital camera in that it uses an optical flash to capture backscattered light, but does come with challenges that include the fact that reflected light may blind sensors. 

Some have cited cost as another prohibitive barrier to entry to many of these solution variants, but LiDAR sensors are becoming more affordable all the time – add in the advantages to be gained from higher quality and more accurate imaging of a space, and turning to LiDAR appears more viable today than it ever has been in the security arena. 

LiDAR enhanced video is extremely well suited for intrusion detection and surveillance. Operators will be able to analyze events in exacting detail, knowing when something has moved or changed, such as when a person enters a space or moves through a door. 

There is an enormous array of specific use cases where this could prove useful. A niche example is in galleries and museums, which would be able to keep visitors away from delicate exhibits and works of art.  

At Oyla, we have already unveiled a world first in the form of Fusion, a mass market 3D sensor fusion camera for the physical security market. 

Integrating video and LIDAR at the hardware level, our AI-powered solution fuses 3D and video data to present the highest reliability levels in a unified model, what we call the next generation of 3D surveillance.  

Watch Oyla’s Fusion camera presentation at IPVM’s New Products Show here.

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