LIDAR Sensor


A LIDAR sensor is a distance sensor that spins around.
Our particular sensor is the Hokuyo UST-10LX scanning laser rangefinder.

  • Wiring
    • Sends data over ethernet
    • Requires external power
  • Data
    • Detection range: 0.06 m to about 10 m
    • Detection accuracy: +- 40 mm
    • Scan angle range: 270°
    • Scan angle resolution: 1081 steps (≈ 0.25° increment between distance measurements)
    • Scan speed: 25 ms (40 Hz)

This sensor has an MSRP of 1.6 US kilodollars. Be aware of this as you conduct your testing.

Usage in ROS

  • We've already programmed the car to make a node that gets the LIDAR data and publishes it via messages to the /scan topic.
  • Each message is of the type LaserScan.
  • The actual scan data lies in the message's ranges attribute, which contains a list of all the distances (in meters) the LIDAR measured during one scan.
  • Other LaserScan message attributes

  • See the diagram to figure out the angles at which the distances are measured:

How to visualize the data onscreen.

  1. In the car’s terminal (ssh in if necessary), run teleop.
  2. In the computer’s terminal (or car’s if you have a monitor plugged in), run rviz.
  3. In rviz, select "base_link" from the "frame" dropdown menu.
  4. In rviz, press "add".
  5. In the popup, go to the "By topic" tab and select "LaserScan" from the "\scan" topic.
  6. Hit the "ok" and enjoy!

Important code snippets:

#imports the dataype/class LaserScan
from sensor_msgs.msg import LaserScan
#a /scan topic subscriber
laser_sub = rospy.Subscriber("/scan", LaserScan, self.laser_callback, queue_size=1)
#a callback function for the subscriber
def laser_callback(scan_data):

If you're working inside another class, try using self.laser_sub = ... and def laser_callback(self, scan_data): ... instead.