Lidar is a huge word for those who know. It stands for Light Detection and Ranging, it uses light to identify range. Lidar is not what we can spot daily in normal cameras due to the price of the sensor and ordinary individuals might not need such sophisticated pieces of technology.
The Lidar sensor is used in professional industry such as land surveying and mapping. In the past, Lidar sensors were mounted on just helicopters in order to get the job done from the sky. But now we have Drones for lighter uses, not all projects are large enough to afford a helicopter for mapping and surveying. With the help of drones, the land survey industry will save quite a huge margin on costing yet to get identical results.
With DJI’s first lidar sensor, the zenmuse L1 is finally here. Top content creators like aerotas have done dozens of test flights while spending hundreds of hours flying and analyzing data so that we can have a real-world tested product.
Following, we will be discussing some technical specifications of the Zenmuse L1. The DJI Zenmuse L1 is equipped with a 20MP camera with a 1-inch CMOS sensor and a Livox Lidar module, a high-accuracy IMU. All of those on a 3-axis stabilized gimbal for still image processing.
The L1 is designed to be mounted on the M300 RTK. M300 RTK is an enterprise grade drone that many use for different purposes. The compatibility that M300 RTK offers is unreal, one can swap out the payload to get a totally different feature for the specific job. With the Zenmuse L1, it can now take on serious land surveying jobs like never before.
Overall, the Zenmuse L1 sensor and the M300 platform make for an excellent UAV lidar platform. An industrial grade drone that is extremely stable pairing with Lidar sensor.
Some of the advantages that Lidar sensors provide will be Vegetation Penetration. The DJI L1 is able to get the job done even in moderate vegetation. But the outcome will not be perfect. Following will be Photogrammetry & Lidar, not only Lidar, the L1 has a good photogrammetry camera. It is able to collect both lidar and photogrammetry data simultaneously.
There will always be some downside in every successful product. Same goes with the DJI Zenmuse L1, it requires some Processing Time in order to get the best result. Processing both lidar and photogrammetry datasets and merging them to get the best of both worlds. Lidar data is considerably less accurate than photogrammetry data on hardscape. Next will be the Cost, when it is compared to a Phantom 4 RTK, the M300 with an L1 sensor is about 3 or 4 times more expensive. It is also not as Easy to Use. The M300 system is a way larger drone than DJI P4 RTK and it also produces a lot more noise. It is not nearly as versatile as a DJI P4 RTK.
To sum everything up, the DJI Zenmuse L1 does provide great features that other payloads are not able to. But, it is still not for everyone. The key benefit to the L1 sensor is the ability to penetrate vegetation, this piece of technology will only shine in certain terrains. So, most of the surveyors will not need to spend a huge amount and get a huge drone with slightly higher deployment time yet harder to transport around.