LIDAR on a Chip Outside – NVIDIA Jetson Development Kits

In the previous article on the LIDAR on a Chip, some folks asked if it is possible to run the chip outdoors. Looky here:

This is just a short article on how the test was done.

The LIDAR on a Chip in this article is a VL53L0X from ST Microelectronics. Pololu Robotics & Electronics sells the carrier/breakout board for the VL53L0X that was used in the video.

In the video, the VL53L0X is wired to a Jetson TK1 Development Kit over I2C. The TK1 is running a wireless access point and a web server. The web server posts a web page which displays the current reading of the VL53L0X range in millimeters through a web socket.

A NVIDIA Shield Tablet is shown which connects to the Jetson TK1 through the WAP and connects to the TK1 web server through a web browser. In that way, the Shield shows the current reading of the VL53L0X.

Results

The test was performed at noon on a sunny day in November in Southern California. With sunlight hitting the sensor (but not pointing the sensor directly at the sun of course) it looked as if the sensor could measure objects up to about 350mm. When the sun was not directly hitting the sensor, range increased somewhat. This is what we would expect, almost any light gathering device has some type of hood/lens to shield the sensor from unwanted light. The laser on the chip emits 940nm light, this is usually pretty good for use outdoors.

It appears that with the application of some shielding/hooding over the sensor, range could be increased significantly. Overall, still pretty good for outdoors use if you want close proximity sensing. Certainly worth checking out!

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