EVALUATION OF CONSUMER-GRADE AND SURVEY-GRADE UAV-LIDAR
Keywords: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Laser Scanning, Low-Cost Sensor, Accuracy Assessment
Abstract. Driven by developments in the automotive industry, the availability of compact consumer-grade LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors has increased significantly in recent years. Some of these sensors are also suitable for UAV-based surveying tasks. This paper first discusses the differences between consumer-grade and survey-grade LiDAR systems. Special attention will be paid to the scanning mechanisms used on the one hand and to different solutions for the transceiver units on the other hand. Based on the technical data of two concrete systems, the consumer-grade DJI Zenmuse L1 sensor and the survey-grade scanner RIEGL VUX-1UAV, the expected effects of the sensor parameters on the 3D point cloud are first discussed theoretically and then verified using an exemplary data set in Hessigheim (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). The analysis shows the possibilities and limitations of consumer-grade LiDAR. Compared to the low-cost sensor, the high-end scanner exhibits lower range measurement noise (5–10 mm) and better 3D point location accuracy. Furthermore, the higher laser beam quality of high-end devices (beam divergence, beam shape) enables more detailed object detection at the same point density. With moderate accuracy requirements of 5–10 cm, however, applications in the geodetic-cartographic context also arise for the considerably less expensive consumer-grade LiDAR systems.