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Can Self-Driving Cars Help Improve Urban Planning Using LiDAR Surveying?

Can Self-Driving Cars Help Improve Urban Planning Using LiDAR Surveying?

The pandemic has changed much about how we live and work every day. Not only are people working and shopping from home, but they are also discovering new methods to socially distance themselves from others. When socially distancing, many individuals are taking a hard pass at riding in a vehicle that is driven by a stranger (think Uber). How fortunate that an alternative is soon to be available. That alternative is self-driving cars.

Self-Driving Cars and LiDAR

Self-driving cars are the taxi of the future. They use LiDAR to navigate city streets in conjunction with artificial intelligence so that they can learn. This combination is a powerful tool for self-driving cars to safely drive a route that can be impacted by weather, accidents, or other mishaps.

Currently, if an urban planner is interested in LiDAR data for a city, they receive data collected primarily from the air. Aerial LiDAR has proven an efficient method for collecting terrain measurements as well as construction measurements for city landscapes.

However, when self-driving cars become prevalent, they can offer a unique collection of data to urban planners. That is because they are scanning data from within the city as they drive passengers from place to place. While aerial LiDAR is very helpful and much better than older methods of surveying, getting to know a city by being immersed at a street-level point-of-view is a great value.

It’s the difference between a general overview and intimate details that affect the lifestyle of city residents.

Since self-driving cars already use LiDAR to navigate effectively, why not turn that data over to city planners? Using this data, urban planners can understand the nuances and unique quirks of every part of their city from the view of a resident.

LiDAR Surveying

Surveying using LiDAR offers so much more information in a very short time span. Like other technology, LiDAR keeps improving and expanding while becoming faster with each upgrade. It wasn’t so long ago that surveying was limited to what could be measured by someone taking measurements in person. LiDAR surveying is not only quicker and more thorough, but it also gives whole ranges of data that couldn’t be measured before.

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