Technology Transfer SSC Pacific
Dynamic and Autonomous Nodding LiDAR Mechanism

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A mechanism for dynamically and autonomously adjusting the scanning range and nodding speed of a single scan LiDAR                                   

The U.S. Navy seeks to commercialize Navy Case 100892 (A method to dynamically modify the scanning angle range and rotating speed on a mechanism for tilting a single scan LiDAR).


To avoid the high cost of 3D LiDARs, less expensive 2D LiDARs can be nodded to capture a 3rd reference point and generate a 3D image. While existing nodding devices have their benefits, they only operate at a specified range and speed, and do not dynamically modify settings in real time based on the context of the environment.

The Technology

SSC Pacific has developed a nodding mechanism that can modify a LiDAR’s scanning range and nodding speed in real time, allowing LiDAR data to be expanded to view a large area, or condensed to view a small area of interest. This area of interest can be determined manually by a user making a selection in a graphical user interface, or autonomously by the mechanism identifying and zooming in on changes in data within a scene (such as movement). The area can also be determined autonomously by an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) or other platform. For example, if a UGV fitted with the mechanism accelerated, the mechanism could automatically scan a smaller range at a higher speed to acquire detailed data directly in front of the vehicle. The current prototype is compact (111 mm x 70 mm x 127 mm) and lightweight (716 g), making it perfect  for a variety of robotic and surveillance applications.

Key Benefits

  • Allows a user to select a region of interest to scan in real time
  • Functions autonomously
  • Provides benefits of a 3D LiDAR system without the cost
  • Uses existing affordable COTS LiDAR (e.g., Hokuyo UTM-30LX), and can be modified for use with other LiDARs, including 3D LiDARs
  • Has applications in robotics (vision system for Talon®, PackBot®, and industrial and service robots), automobiles (obstacle detection and collision avoidance), security and surveillance, and surveying
  • Development Status

  • One Navy Case: 100892
  • DoD 5000 Series Technology Readiness Level 3: Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept
  • Mechanism is built, software is being optimized (August 2011)
  • For more information on technology transfer, please contact us at (619) 5535118 or email
    SD 974, August 2011. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 921525001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

    SSC Pacific
    Updated: 11/8/2011 2:38 PM EST   Published