Lidara technology evolved from radar, but using laser light rather than microwaveshas found an astounding range of applications, none more prominent than its crucial role in enabling self-driving cars. This accessible introduction to a fascinating and increasingly vital technology focuses on the engaging human stories of lidar's innovators as they advance and adapt it to better understand air, water, ice and Earth - not to mention mapping Mars and Mercury, spotting incoming nuclear warheads, and avoiding pedestrians and cyclists on city streets.
Award-winning science writer Todd Neff invites readers behind the scenes to meet some of the great innovators who have explored and expanded the uses of this amazing technology: people like MIT scientist Louis Smullin, whose lidar bounced light off the moon soon after the laser's invention; Allan Carswell, who plumbed the shallows of Lake Erie en route to developing the aerial lidar now essential for coastal mapping and hurricane damage assessment; Red Whittaker, the field robotics pioneer who was putting lidar on his autonomous contraptions as early as the 1980s; and David Hall, whose laser sombrero on a Toyota Tundra gave birth to modern automotive lidar.
These are just some of the stories Neff tells before looking ahead to a future that could bring lidar to unpiloted air taxis, to the contaminated pipes of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, and to satellites capable of pinpointing greenhouse gas sources from orbit. As the author makes clear, the sky is no limit with lidar, which promises to make our world safer, healthier, and vastly more interesting.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Todd Neff is an award-winning science, environment, and healthcare journalist. Previously, he was science and environment reporter for the Boulder Daily Camera and a 2007-2008 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism. His work has appeared in Smithsonian Air & Space, Business 2.0, Mashable, and Compliance Week, among other publications. He is the author of From Jars to the Stars, which won the Colorado Book Award for history in 2012.
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Excerpted from "The Laser That's Changing the World"
Copyright © 2018 Todd Neff.
Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Hutchie 7
Chapter 2 Enter the Laser 22
Chapter 3 Into Thin Air 34
Chapter 4 Plane Crashes, Hailstorms, and Distant Planets 43
Chapter 5 Take the Plunge 60
Chapter 6 Disco Ball in Space 73
Chapter 7 Zapping Mars, Moon, Mercury, and Even Earth 85
Chapter 8 Land and Ice 94
Chapter 9 Trees and Archaeological Treasures 104
Chapter 10 Glass Half Full 122
Chapter 11 Firepond 134
Chapter 12 Map Quest 147
Chapter 13 Atoms to Bytes 162
Chapter 14 Hit the Road (Slowly) 181
Chapter 15 Debacle in the Desert 193
Chapter 16 The Road Ahead 205
Chapter 17 Glue, Drones, and Radioactive Pipes 217