LiDAR can be used as Monitoring Tool for Marine Debris

LiDAR can be used as Monitoring Tool for Marine Debris

May 9, 2016 @ 20:20 | 

LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is a powerful cutting edge technology for 3 dimensional mapping, object detection, recognition and Identification. The LiDAR sensors are very much popular in mobile robotics for obstacle avoidance and mapping. Now according to a new science report published in Nature on 9th May 2016, “LiDAR is more effective in compare to other more laborious methods to recognize and identify the marine debris.” Researchers, Zhenpeng Ge, Huahong Shi, Xuefei Mei, Zhijun Dai & Daoji Li, proposed a new method in their report “Semi-automatic recognition of marine debris on beaches” for the recognition of marine debris on a beach.

An increasing amount of anthropogenic marine debris is pervading the earth’s environmental systems, resulting in an enormous threat to living organisms. Additionally, the large amount of marine debris around the world has been investigated mostly through tedious manual methods.

Report says that LIDAR should be used for the classification of marine debris into plastic, paper, cloth and metal. Additionally, we can reconstruct a 3-dimensional model of different types of debris on the beach. These findings demonstrate that the availability of this new technique enables detailed observations to be made of debris on a large beach that was previously not possible. Researchers suggested that LIDAR could be implemented as an appropriate monitoring tool for marine debris by global researchers and governments.

As each type of landscape has its own spectral information, each type of marine debris has different backscattering characteristics in response to a laser, such as echo amplitude, width, and sequence. Accordingly, LIDAR technology can be used to scan marine debris and further extract and classify marine debris according to its waveform features. Furthermore, LIDAR can be used to reconstruct the configuration of marine debris based on point-clouds. A 3D model of marine debris is similar to the real object, which presents the possibility of reconstructing the state of beach debris using virtual reality technology. However, glass debris was not detected successfully in validation experiments. Glass and sand each contain SiO2 as their major chemical component, which may be the key reason for the misclassification of glass.

Compared to manual one, LiDAR has observable advantages in time and effort saving. The manual work that took approximately 3 hours to complete the marine debris identification, and personal error is inevitable during the work. LiDAR technology provides excellent results within 20 minutes.

Additionally, in this experiment, the scanner is fixed on a tripod, and the effective coverage area depends on the instrument. If the LiDARs were mounted on a mobile vehicle combined with an Inertial Navigation System (INS), the coverage of scanning would be greatly increased to obtain massive amounts of data along with location information. Thus, LIDAR technology could be used extensively in monitoring marine debris on a large scale with mobile robots.

  • Explore Further: Velodyne Launches Company’s Lightest 3D LiDAR – Puck LITE
  • Reference: Zhenpeng Ge, Huahong Shi, Xuefei Mei, Zhijun Dai & Daoji Li “Semi-automatic recognition of marine debris on beaches.” Nature/ doi:10.1038/srep25759
  • Image: Nature ((a) Distribution of identified debris on the beach. The boxes (b–e) represent plastic (b1–b3), paper (c1–c3), cloth (d1–d3) and metal (e1–e3). (b–e1), point-clouds of individual debris; (b–e2), 3D models of individual debris; S is the surface area of the debris, and the distance between two points is the curve length on the surface; (b–e3), photos of real objects.)


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