OpenLidar will be a collaborative project to develop the architecture of an open-source remote wind sensing lidar that can be used for teaching, research, and product development. This project is aimed at lidar product developers, expert users, and researchers. The goals can be reduced to five basic points:
The project will initially define the major modules that are common to different types of lidar, and help establish the interfaces between those modules. Modules have similar functions across different types of lidar, but may use different physics or different hardware to carry out these functions. Modules might include a controller, laser source, telescope, scanner and lens, receiver, signal analysis, power management, remote communications, housing, motion and orientation detection, and environmental control. This framework will be used to enable the later conceptual design of those modules, and later hardware testing. The framework will enable different module designs to be tested and compared while keeping other components of the lidar identical.
OpenLidar will be designed to ensure the safe operation of the lidar. The lidar will be fibre based and will be designed so that the lidar will be class 1M outside of the enclosure during normal operation. A key feature of the architecture will be the inclusion of safety interlocks in each module and in the system interfaces to prevent operation of the laser without safety measures being present. The system will also be designed with a low power laser to assist in setup. Other safety requirements will be developed as the project matures.
The various modules of OpenLidar will be extensively documented, including engineering drawings, software source code, and component lists, allowing a complete overview of the system function. Documentation will be made available online.
OpenLidar will operate under a license that requires all developments be shared with the project (license type TBD). The project will develop a collaborative website (e.g. wiki) where information can be shared between participants. As the number of participants grows, the project will host a workshop to bring participants together. The first workshop is expected to showcase the first OpenLidar baseline hardware.
The common framework for a wind lidar will allow researchers or product developers to trial new technologies relatively quickly and easily. For example, trying out a new data processing routing currently requires building a lidar from the ground up as it is not possible to access spectral data from the lidar. Instead, the raw data will be available in OpenLidar and the data processing can be changed with ease. Also, it will be easy to try entirely new modules simply by swapping them out and updating the controller software. This flexibility is not found in current lidars.