High-Performance Laser Range Scanner
journal contributionposted on 1997-01-01, 00:00 authored by John Hancock, Eric Hoffman, Ryan Sullivan, Darin Ingimarson, Dirk Langer, Martial Hebert
Laser scanners, or ladars, have been used for a number of years for mobile robot navigation. Although previous scanners were sufficient for low-speed navigation, they often did not have the range or angular resolution necessary for mapping at the long distances required by high-speed navigation. Many also did not provide an ample field of view. In this paper we will present the development of state-of-the-art, high speed, high accuracy, laser range scanner technology. This work has been a joint effort between CMU and K2T in Pittsburgh and Zoller + Friehlich in Wangen, Germany. The scanner mechanism provides an unobstructed 360 degrees horizontal field of view, and a 30 degree vertical field of view. Resolution of the scanner is variable with a maximum resolution of approximately 0.06 degrees per pixel in both azimuth and elevation. The laser is amplitude-modulated, continuous-wave with an ambiguity interval of 52 metes, a range resolution of 1.6 mm, and a maximum pixel rate of 500 kHz. This paper will focus on the design and performance of the scanner mechanism and will discuss several potential applications for the technology. One application, obstacle detection for automated highway applications will be discussed in more detail. Example data will be shown and current mechanism improvements from the CMU prototype will also be discussed.