AC 3.4-RC6 360 degrees Lidar support

Wow I just stumbled over the RC6 release notes and found the statement about the support of collision avoidance with the SF 360 degree range finder.
Where can I find more information about what is possible with this device in Ardupilot?

Hi there. Yes we included a somewhat simple form of object avoidance using the Lidar SF40c 360degree lidar. A video of it in action is on my YouTube channel here:

I’ll put together a wiki page within this next week to show how to connect it.

It works reasonably well but it has a few limitations:

  • it only works in Loiter mode for the moment (other modes will come in a future release)
  • it doesn’t build a full SLAM image of the scene internally, it just uses the distance from the lidar in the direction that the pilot is trying to move the vehicle to decide when to stop.
  • it doesn’t back away from things (in the future we will make it back away but at a slow speed like 50cm/s or less)

But putting those limitations aside, I think it’s a big step for ardupilot actually.


Will it support other sensors like lidar-lite or maxbotics sonar in the near future? Good job.

Please make a parameter, so we can choose between backing up or staying in the predefined distance from the object.
It could be useful when doing building inspections so the copter is always at the same distance from the building.

Here’s the wiki page which describes the setup of the SF40c for object avoidance.

@fadilrosli, I expect future versions will add support for 1-dimensional lidar pointing out at different directions but I can’t make a promise at the moment when that support will be added. A number of people have asked that same question though so it’s clear people want the feature.

@ajghor, re a parameter to control behaviour - sure. I was thinking there would be a parameter to control the speed at which the vehicle backs up. There should also probably be a parameter to control the minimum distance the vehicle can get to the object (currently it’s hard-coded to 2m). Some people have also asked for “tractor beam” which would allow the vehicle to stick to an object. So maybe if the vehicle was facing an object and the pilot engaged the “tractor beam” as the person moved away, the vehicle would follow him/her.

Anyway, plenty of things to look at adding in the future!