Design and Testing of Cost-Effective Lidar Systems for Transportation

Dr. Christopher Depcik and Ms. Devan Mittman

July 31, 2020

Presentation Topic

Mobile light detection and ranging (lidar) technology offers a significant opportunity to increase transportation safety and efficiency. However, most commercial systems are prohibitively expensive for usage with consumer products like bicycles and in widespread implementation throughout our transportation infrastructure. Therefore, cost-effective lidar systems are needed and this effort describes the development of two options targeted for different safety outcomes. The first option built on prior electric bike (e-bike) lidar testing efforts and created a similarly cost effective two-dimensional lidar system that was able to capture the interaction of an e-bike with surrounding motor vehicles. The second option involved the generation of a lidar system that can create three-dimensional point clouds with upwards of 700,000 data points as a cost of less than $300. Initial results highlight its potential in monitoring pavement quality as an example of its capability in providing data for transportation-related reports.

This presentation will demonstrate the operation of this second system. Overall, both options require further refinement before extensive deployment can take place. Nonetheless, this work demonstrates that low-cost lidar systems are a prospective route for enhancing safety within the transportation environment.

About the Speakers

Dr. Christopher Depcik is a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Kansas (KU). In addition, he has a Courtesy Appointment in the Aerospace Engineering Department. Prior to joining KU, he worked at the University of Michigan (UM) as a post-doctoral research fellow. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UM (2003), as well as an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering (2002), and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1999). He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida (1997). Dr. Depcik’s laboratory conducts research revolving around a sustainable approach to energy and the transportation infrastructure. His group has published over 100-refereed articles and Dr. Depcik received the Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph R. Teetor Award for his transportation-related research and educational activities.

Ms. Devan Mittman is a current graduate student at the University of Kansas working towards an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from KU (2018). Prior projects involve rechargeable battery performance, management, and modeling, electric vehicle systems, and circuitry design (2017-2018). Current research involves electric bicycle modeling, performance, and lidar distance measurement systems (2018-2020).