An interesting technological development has been brewing up for some time- Solid State LiDAR. It is LiDAR on microchip. Most of us would recall the era of diodes and triodes in our music system, electronic devices etc and then the solid-state devices came, where all such diodes and triodes went into the chips and that too in millions. Solid-state LiDAR will do something similar for LiDAR, integrating its mechanical parts into microchip.
CalTech researchers have developed solid state LiDAR chips which are just hundred microns in size. DARPA scientists looking after research program on solid state LiDAR are confident that such devices can be made inexpensive without losing the performance. These solid state solutions are scalable too.
If you are wondering about how many years to its commercialisation- its already there!
Velodyne, Quanergy, LeddarVu and many others are already in the race. Recently, InnovizOne a startup from Israel released their solid state LiDAR which costs a fraction of traditional one https://youtu.be/OpNScXo6c0E. Its matter of time before this gets into the geospatial domain and we can have less than $100 LiDAR which will be small, handy and will be doing 360deg terrestrial laser scanning. I can see the next discussion line with policy makers in 3 to 5 years time frame on restricting the prolific use of such LiDAR, similar to abundance of drones available today and DGCA directive against its usage in civil domain.
Shifting the gear from technology to social-
Today’s Times of India has highlighted something which many in the geospatial industry would have been wondering about, ever since the DND flyway (Delhi-Noida toll bridge over Yamuna) opened in early 2000 and people started using it. While coming from Noida to Delhi often one tends to look left, towards the Yamuna bank which seems to be getting closer to the DND. Having checked with archive satellite imagery it did appear that the construction work has been going on. Even NGT ban (Year 2013) has not been of any deterrence to those engaged in encroachment and unauthorised construction. The data which is being made freely available (no cost or low cost), does have public utility and brings transparency. But, it may not be pleasing to many government departments as it will make them answerable to many such questions which will be raised in newspapers, social media, etc.
A quick study by our in-house team showed that over 150++ news over the last couple of years in mainstream media, where they have quoted usage of geospatial data available in public domain for project planning, implementation, monitoring etc. For those in geospatial data business it’s an interesting time, please watch out.