Is LiDAR compatible with rainy or foggy weather?

Knowledge 20210126

Did you know?

It is not recommended to use LiDAR in rainy or foggy weather.

In contact with water, light deviates and so does the laser of a LiDAR system, thus impacting data quality. The main optical process occurring with fog is diffusion as for rain it is dispersion.

In the first case, the light is scattered in all directions by water molecules. This is why it is possible to see the laser beam. All this diffusion will increase the noise in the data because it makes it very difficult for the LiDAR sensor to differentiate the return signals it is receiving between ground points and water droplets. Cleaning the data set at the post-processing stage can be a tedious task.

In the case of rain, the light is just deviated by the droplets and there is no straight laser beam anymore. The reflected light can not be detected because of the deflection effect. Additionally, water droplets might collect on the scanner during flight, blocking part of the field of view.

And of course, it is not wise to expose neither your drone nor your LiDAR system to rain!

But YellowScan has an IP55 rating (Ingress Protection Code, related to dust- and waterproofing) on its systems, anticipating the UAV’s return to the base without damage if it starts raining during a flight.

N.B. Author Léa Moussy – The content of this article is protected by copyright.

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