VL53L0X Lidar is… disappointing

I just finished first test flights with laser rangefinder VL53L0X and well, I'm disappointed. Before I will show any data, let's review test conditions:

  • VL53L0X configured for Long range mode: 2m
  • 8PM, obscured sky, no direct sunlight
  • Over concrete

And it looks like this:

vl53l0x altitude graph

vl53l0x altitude graph

Solid readout ended at more less 80cm. Above that, valid readout appeared only from time to time. So I have to assume, that everything above 1m is absolutely not reliable and useful range is max. 75cm. Probably much less over different surfaces.

And that means it will have rather limited usefulness. Landing detection probably. Or low altitude flights with terrain following. I tried that too and it worked as long as quadcopter was not higher as 20 or 30cm above ground.

Oh well… I had high hopes for VL53L0X. Next attempts will be with hybrid approach: US-100 sonar and Sharp optical (IR) GP2Y0A710K0F (up to 5 meters) data fusion.

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GPS Racer: worklog #9 – double rangefinder setup

My GPS Racer is less and less fun project. For last few weeks it acts as sensor platform for my attempts to bring rangefinders and terrain following modes back to INAV. This time in a way that will work.

Two weeks ago it was carrying HC-SR04 sonar (crappy device). Week ago it was carrying US-100 (much better device). This week it is carrying both US-100 sonar and VL53L0X lidar!

INAV with US-100 Sonar and VL53L0X Lidar

DigitalEntity apparently had too much spare time and he finally wrote (ported) a driver for VL53L0X and starting from version 1.8 (probably) INAV will be able to use this cheap lidar.

INAV with VL53L0X Lidar

Yes, VL53L0X is cheap and that means it's not state-of-the art device. First of all, it has limited range. 2m is all it can do in a room. No idea how it will behave in sunlight. Hard to guess, but I'm afraid that 1m will be all it will able to do in real life conditions… But we will see in a next few days.

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