The Laser That’s Changing the World: The Amazing Stories behind Lidar, from 3D Mapping to Self-Driving Cars

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Lasers: is there anything they can’t do? As it turns out, probably not.

Optical technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last 60 years, and one of the most exciting and adaptable advances is Lidar, a measuring system that works like radar but utilizes lasers. And practically every day, entrepreneurs are pushing the boundaries of what we can do with Lidar.

The Laser That’s Changing the World is part-history, part-study of modern-day technology. The first few chapters discuss the development of Lidar, and the rest of the book covers the numerous uses found for Lidar since its invention, including mapmaking, elevation studies, 3D scanning and rendering, and more. From mapping Mars to uncovering hidden earthquake faults and lost civilizations, the evolution of Lidar is a rich subject, and it’s one ably explored by Neff’s research and narrative.

As the technology is adapted once more, moving forward into the field of self-driving cars, Neff discusses both the advancements and obstacles involved in Lidar’s newest iteration, tempering the overly optimistic promises of businesses with hard science.

Carefully threading the needle between science reporting and jargon-filled technobabble, Neff keeps the science accessible and the reader’s interest level high, making for a fun and educational read that still feels like it’s expanding your mind, not overstuffing it.


Reviewed By:

Author Todd Neff
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 314 pages
Publisher Prometheus Books
Publish Date 2018-Oct-09
ISBN 9781633884663
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue February 2019
Category Technology
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