For a robot or self-driving car to move around successfully it needs some way to sense its environment and avoid obstacles. There are a few ways to do that, and the simplest is with a couple of bumper switches that tell the robot when it touches an obstacles. Many other options, like ultrasonic range finders, are available, but have some obvious downsides. LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is a far better solution, but has traditionally be expensive and difficult to implement. Now, you can add the Hybo iLidar to your robot for just $89.
iLidar just launched on Kickstarter with the goal of providing an affordable and easy way to add LiDAR to your projects. It’s a 2D LiDAR unit that utilizes a line laser, so it can sense an entire 180° view in a single pulse — unlike other LiDAR modules that sweep the laser. That also means it’s solid state, which increases the reliability. If you want 3D data, simply mount iLidar on a servo and tilt it up and down. iLidar has a built-in IMU (inertial measurement unit), so it knows where in space it is and what angle it’s at.
Interfacing iLidar with your robot is easy, thanks to plug-and-play SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) support. It can be connected to your Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or PC via USB, SPI, or I2C. iLidar has a 100 Hz refresh rate, so your robot will always be updated on its current surroundings. Best of all, iLidar is just 11 x 2.5 x 3.5 cm, so it will easily fit on even the most compact robots.
The iLidar Kickstarter campaign is running until December 26th, and early birds can grab one for $89 ($99 after those run out). Rewards are expected to ship in August 2019.