B&N Audiobooks Subscription = SAVINGS. Sign Up Today for a Free Book!
The Laser That's Changing the World: The Amazing Stories behind Lidar, from 3D Mapping to Self-Driving Cars

The Laser That's Changing the World: The Amazing Stories behind Lidar, from 3D Mapping to Self-Driving Cars

by Todd Neff


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, July 7


Tells the story of a laser technology that will have a big impact on society and the brilliant innovators responsible for its development Lidar—a technology evolved from radar, but using laser light rather than microwaves—has 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.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633884663
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Pages: 314
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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "The Laser That's Changing the World"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Todd Neff.
Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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

Acknowledgments 235

Notes 237

Index 275

Customer Reviews