Sweep: An Affordable Scanning LIDAR Sensor for any Mobile Robot

Sweep is a low-cost 360 degree scanning laser sensor capable of delivering advanced sensing capabilities for a retail price of only US $249. The sensor is also compact and lightweight making it an ideal candidate for almost any type of robotic application – be it a multirotor drone, self-driving car, or advanced tracking and positioning system. Sweep has already proven itself in beta testing, and by the time it reaches the market drivers and SDKs will be available for all major development platforms.

Sweep scanning LIDAR sensor

Sweep scanning LIDAR sensor | Image credit: Scanse

The sensor is the product of many years of research and has been created by Scanse – a team of two engineers from San Leandro, California with a background in developing outdoor consumer robots. With less than three days to go the project has been successfully funded, having surpassed the US $230,000 campaign goal.

The Sweep LIDAR sensor promises to deliver performance available until now only in the over $1000 price range, thus potentially finding its way into many project builds of hobbyists, makers or professionals alike, as well as into consumer products which could benefit from augmented sensing capabilities while retaining their cost effectiveness. The sensor is also well suited for educational purposes letting students experiment with LIDAR and scanning sensor technologies.

Its creators also emphasize that the Sweep sensor has a modular design, meaning that certain components can be upgraded over time, further optimizing costs in the medium and long term.

Product Specs

Sweep has a 360 degree field of view and can perform readings at distances up to 40 meters. These are interesting specs well suited even for more advanced projects where relatively fast moving ground or air robots need to detect obstacles as far as possible, or for environment mapping purposes where the 1 cm resolution should be more than enough for most purposes.

  • Dimensions and weight: 50.4mm height, 65mm diameter, 120 grams
  • Technology: 905nm light source, 1 degree beam angle
  • Field of view: 360 degrees;
  • Sample rate: 500Hz;
  • Scanning range: 0.1 to 40 meters (0.3-131.2 feet);
  • Scanning resolution: 1cm;
  • Scanning accuracy: 0.5 to 40 meters – 2% of measured distance;
  • Rotation frequency: 2-10Hz adjustable;
  • Angular resolution: 1.4 to 7.2 degrees;
  • Communication: UART TTL 3.3-5V, USB 2.0 adapter;
  • Power: 5VDC, 300mA maximum;
  • Sensor datasheet

Software

Software will be available for all major platforms so makers can integrate Sweep into their projects regardless of infrastructure.

Scanse Visualizer is the prime tool for viewing what Sweep is sensing and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Drivers for ROS have been already made available so developers can start implementing the sensor as soon as possible. SDKs for Python, JavaScript and C/C++ are being prepared, and the team is also working for integration with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other platforms. Also under development are drivers for modules such as Pixhawk Autopilot, NI roboRIO and more.

Photos

Below you can take a look at a few photos of Sweep, all images are credited to Scanse.

As mentioned earlier for as low as US $249 you can pre-order a Sweep sensor from the campaign page. At the time of writing all early bird pledges have been exhausted, a further indicator of the project’s success. You can also find out more information on the