LiDAR Sensors for Drones: Top 5 Options

Last updated on

August 2, 2018


As you might have already heard, COPTRZ is now proud to be partnering with LiDAR USA. They are one of the world’s premier LiDAR manufacturers and provide many of the leading sensors available for drones in 2018. So, if you’re looking to make use of the power of LiDAR drone sensors, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top five options currently available:

1. ScanLook Revolution

There are a number of mapping jobs that don’t necessarily need 2cm – 4cm global positioning. All that truly matters sometimes is that you get accurate measurements for potential vegetation encroachment, volumetric calculations, or alternatively, locate objects and then be able to return them to the location if need be. This is where the ScanLook Revolution is ideal.

The Revolution weight ranges from 1kg to 1.6kg, and has dimensions of 4.75 diameters by 5.25 long. It also has a power consumption of 15 watts and a voltage input of 10-30VDC.

It is suitable for the following applications:

  • Archaeology
  • Encroachment Survey
  • Volume Calculations Stockpiles
  • Law Enforcement Forensics

The Revolution has more than one laser option. You can choose between the Velodyne VLP-16, the Velodyne PuckLITE and the Quanergy M8.

2. MiniV

The MiniV, or RIEGL miniVUX-1UAV, is an increasingly popular LiDAR sensor due to its compact size and impressive performance capabilities. It is very light, coming in at just 3.4lbs, making it less than half the weight of the standard Snoopy V Series.

And with dimensions of 242x99x85mm, it is also roughly half the size. The MiniV is most effectively used in icy and snowy locations, as well as dense foliage landscapes. It offers a complete 360-degree field of view and has internal storage capabilities that last several days.

Aberystwyth University is an advocate of the MiniV LiDAR sensor.  The Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Group at Aberystwyth University have invested in a drone-based LiDAR and spectral imaging package in order to enhance their research across the globe. The bespoke unit, configured by COPTRZ, is expected to significantly enhance the university’s research into the monitoring of British forests, focusing primarily on the measurement of standing timber volumes, forest biomass and carbon content.


3. Snoopy A Series

The Snoopy A series offers two LiDAR drone sensors:

• Puck & Puck LITE
• HDL-32E

The Snoopy A series is technologically more evolved than LiDAR USA’s Snoopy Series, while being smaller and more compact. Each one weighs roughly 2-2.5kg and has dimensions of 3.5×11.75×4.375 inches. Each provides incredibly detailed and accurate 3D mapping. The Puck & Puck LITE is an increasingly popular sensor, due to its slightly lower price and wonderful list of specifications. However, if you want something a little more powerful, then the HDL-32E offers:

• A greater degree of accuracy (+/- 2cm)
• 40-degree vertical FOV (25 degrees more than the Puck & Puck LITE)
• Twice as many lasers (32 as opposed to 16)
• It shoots in 700,000 points per second (400,000 more than the Puck & Puck LITE)

4. Snoopy V Series

As a part of the Snoopy V series, you can choose from:

• The aforementioned MiniV
• VUX-1HA (High Accuracy version)
• VUX-1LR (Long Range version)

The base model of the V series is the VUX-1 UAV, and it is a powerful 3D mapping solution for most businesses. It remains operational all the way up to 100ft in the air, has a field of view of 330 degrees and weighs only 3.5lbs. The High Accuracy V series drone offers a 360 degrees field of view and an almost unlimited number of target echoes. Whilst the Long Range V series is generally used by larger aircraft than drones, due to its ability to track data from as far as 1,740 feet.


The TREX LiDAR sensors come available in three forms:

• The TREX

Once again, the base model TREX is suitable for all kinds of applications, offering advanced features, such as:

• Controlled point registration
• Endless coordinate systems
• Point Cloud filtering

Coming in at just 2.1kg and being only 5.25 inches long, it is already a remarkably compact sensor. However, the TREX LITE takes things one step further, being just 1.6kg in weight and offering much of the same performance. While the TREX HD is very similar to the standard TREX model, it shoots in 700,000 points per second and uses 32 lasers (twice as many as the standard TREX).

Accessing the ideal LiDAR/drone combination for you

The wonderful thing about LiDAR sensors is that they are becoming increasingly diverse, and the same goes for drones. The new Matrice 600 and Matrice 210 are widely considered two of the best quality drones available for commercial application. As well as COPTRZ own VOLANT LiDAR Drone solution.

When brought together with any of the LiDAR drone sensors mentioned above, you have an all-in-one solution that can do everything you could possibly need. No longer are drones limited to large corporations with plenty of money to spend on new, experimental 3D mapping technology. These drones have all been proven to work for inexperienced drone operators who are on a budget.

Due to our unique partnership, we are best placed to help advise all UK-based businesses on the ideal LiDAR sensor for their needs. With a deep background understanding of drones and their applications, we can offer you the perfect combination for your business. Simply head on over to our contact page and drop us a message. We would love to arrange a time to speak to you and to get to know your needs in greater detail.

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