LIDAR, which stands for light detection and ranging, is a laser-based method for remotely measuring distance, speed, and many other quantities. The basic principle of LIDAR is actually quite easy to understand. A pulse of laser light is directed at an object, and the time it takes that pulse to reach the target and bounce back is measured. Since we know how fast light travels, that time delay tells us exactly how far away the object is.
LIDAR - Lasers Measure Distance and More from Afar
Not surprisingly, the military has been using LIDAR since the early 1960s to measure the distance to targets. At first, there weren’t many other applications for this technique. But, over the years, engineers and scientists realized you could actually do much more with LIDAR. Let’s see what some of those are.