Up to 50 meters in front of the plow, the lidar sensor can assess the snow depth. The technology makes the piste machine highly efficient.
By measuring the time it takes for the reflected light signal to return to the source, laser points build a 3D image of the surroundings. Lidar sensors can reveal the topography under dense vegetation.
The technology has contributed to a number of archaeological discoveries.
Lidar sensors have also been a piece of the puzzle in the development of self-driving vehicles, but are now also taking place in conventional models. One example is Volvo’s new electric SUV EX90 where the technology can detect objects at a distance of 250 meters.
Lidar has also found its way into piste machines. German Pistenbully calls its system Snowsat Lidar. Previously, it was only possible to read the snow depth with sensors that sit under the piste machine, but the lidar allows the driver to read the depth up to 50 meters in front of the plough.
Every second, the sensor on the roof captures 200,000 data points, enabling the system to read an area of 2,600 square meters, writes Pistenbully on its website.
On a monitor, thinner layers of snow are shown in red and thicker layers in green. The driver can also see hidden rocks and precipices, making work safer.
Lidar technology means that it is possible to quickly achieve an even snow layer, which results in lower operating costs and emissions from the piste machine. For this, it will be easier to train new operators.