Why is Lidar so expensive? More importantly, how could the cost come down on laser rangers so hobbiest could have access to them?
From what I understand, the mechanicals are pretty straightforward: you've got a laser, optics both for shooting out the laser and optics as it comes back in, the photodetection unit, and processing to do timing of the laser flight.
Which part of this makes it so expensive? I can get a laser pen on Ebay, I can find optics at a variety of vendors, and a general purpose microcontroller is a few bucks. Is calibration of each unit expensive? Does it take a special purpose, more expensive laser?
Hardware gurus -- curious if you have any insight...