LiDAR RADAR Difference | A Detailed Guide

by in Technology

LiDAR RADAR differences can help the people who often get confused between these two terms. The main objective of the LiDAR and RADAR are the same. It is to determine the volume of a far object. However, they are not the same. In this post, we will differentiate between LiDAR and RADAR for your general understanding. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and it works on remote sensing technology. On the other hand, RADAR stands for Radio Detection and Ranging. To understand the LiDAR and RADAR difference, you need to read this post until the end. Let’s proceed further! 

What Is The Need To Compare LiDAR vs. RADAR?

Before we discuss any further the difference between the two terms, you should understand the purpose behind this comparison. To start, you need to understand the term applied autonomy in the first place. Applied autonomy is basically the technology that helps in the development of automated machines, especially vehicles. Some of the best examples of the applied autonomy include the application of drones to put out forest fires, vehicles utilized in the factories, rock drilling, and several others. LiDAR and RADAR are the widely used technologies in the applied autonomy. 


When it comes to the application of LiDAR and RADAR technologies in the applied autonomy, it is important to compare the two thoroughly. Both of the two, LiDAR RADAR, have their own set of benefits and shortcomings. Besides, applied autonomy is one of the most dynamic fields. If one technology is applied at one place, it doesn’t mean that it will serve the other function with the same efficacy level. So, it is important to have more options in hand to apply them whenever needed. 

LiDAR And Its Competitive Advantages

When making a LiDAR RADAR comparison, let’s discuss LiDAR and its benefits in the first place. The full form of LiDAR is Light Imaging Detection and Ranging. It uses laser light pulses. On the other hand, RADAR uses radio waves. LiDAR sensors are unbeatable when it comes to precision. To ensure high precision, it uses the laser pulses in bulk to form point clouds. This point cloud can be digitized to establish several algorithms, such as AI, machine learning, and a wide array of analytical applications. This is one of the most applauded benefits of the LiDAR over the RADAR. 

When we talk about the application of LiDAR in the applied autonomy, speed is not the main concern. However, large vehicles plowing a field or hovering on a construction site will no longer be an issue for the pedestrians. Besides, some other common issues, such as racing drivers or traffic lights, can also be addressed using this technology. LiDAR can handle these issues more efficiently as compared to RADAR. However, this technology can be costlier when applied on a large scale. 

How Does LiDAR Algorithm Work?

The functioning of the LiDAR algorithm can be summarized in the below-given points: 

  • In the first place, it emits laser signals.
  • After that, the moving laser signals collide with an obstacle.
  • In the next step, the obstacle reflects the laser signals back to the source. 
  • The receivers at the LiDAR receive the signals.
  • Finally, a laser pulse is registered, providing important information about the obstacle. 

Advantages of LiDAR

Below are some examples where the application of LiDAR can accomplish a task with the utmost efficacy: 

  • It uses short wavelengths that help it in the detection of small objects. 
  • It can create a 3D monochromatic image of an object with a high accuracy level. 

Shortcomings Of LiDAR

The main shortcomings of LiDAR are as below: 

  • It can loose its effectiveness in poor weather and during the night. 
  • It can be very costly when applied on a large scale. 

RADAR and Its Benefits

When comparing LiDAR RADAR, you need to keep in mind that there are so many things in common between the two applied autonomy technologies. They act similarly when they scan the surroundings, determine things at a certain distance, and identify their speed. 

However, RADAR uses electromagnetic waves or radio waves. Besides, it has a transmitting antenna and one for reception. In most cases, the same antenna is used for transmission and reception purposes. It reflects the radio waves from the transmitter to the object and then gets back to the receiver to provide information about the object’s speed and location. 

For moving vehicles at a speed of 50-70km/h, where the reaction time is important, RADAR technology is preferred over LiDAR. This is the reason why RADAR is used in most autonomous cars these days. It is suitable for vehicles moving at a slow speed in a controlled environment. However, where there are so many objects for the RADAR to interpret, you may need other sensors. 

Advantages Of RADAR

Now that you know how does a RADAR work, below are some advantages of RADAR over LiDAR: 

  • The operating distance of RADAR is greater than the LiDAR.
  • It is suitable for diverse weather conditions and times. It does not depend on any mechanical part, which makes it functioning even in the dirt. 

Disadvantages of RADAR

RADAR, in a few conditions, fails to give the correct information of the object. Check the below-given conditions: 

  • Sometimes, due to reflection or disturbance, RADAR can give false information about an object, such as incorrect size. For instance, it may perceive a soda can as a building. 
  • Due to the missing fidelity or other important sensors, it is not as accurate as LiDAR. 


After reading all the important facts, it is time to conclude our LiDAR RADAR comparison. Applied Autonomy is a vibrant field with diverse sensor needs. Based on the type of the project, LiDAR and RADAR technologies are deployed to get the task accomplished. For instance, RADAR technology is preferred when it comes to an autonomous drone for a forest fire, as it can work well in poor environmental conditions. On the other hand, LiDAR technology is more relevant on a vehicle on construction sites or in a rock drill application. If you find this post informative, then you can visit our blog section to dive deep into the world or awe-inspiring information. Stay connected! 


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