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Developers of LiDAR Systems should Focus on Developing Standardized LiDAR Platform, says TMR

The global LiDAR market is dominated by Leica Geosystems AG, Optech Inc., and RIEGL Laser Measurement Systems Ltd. According to Transparency Market Research, these three giants collectively accounted for 40% of the global LiDAR market in 2013. 

Though the high initial investment requirements for the development of LiDAR products will keep new players out, the expanding operations of the existing players, particularly in the developed North America and Europe markets, are likely to augment the competition in the LiDAR market in the coming years. The price-sensitivity of the LiDAR market is also a crucial factor for players in the LiDAR market, especially taking into account the ever-present threat from substitutes such as RADAR and photogrammetry.

Advantages of LiDAR over Conventional Mapping Technologies Crucial in LiDAR Industry’s Growth

The increasing incorporation of LiDAR in mapping applications is due to its inherent advantages over conventional techniques such as photogrammetry. LiDAR is not only quicker and more accurate than photogrammetry, but also works across a wider range of climatic variables and doesn’t require as much human supervision. The high volume of data generated by LiDAR mapping is another crucial reason why LiDAR-based mapping is steadily replacing conventional mapping technologies, despite the higher costs of the former.

The use of LiDAR in producing 3D images is a key driver for the global LiDAR market. Contour mapping and surveying, especially of forest and mining areas, are rapidly emerging as leading applications of LiDAR due to the detailed mapping info provided by LiDAR. The use of 3D scanning in the consumer goods sector is also increasing, hand in hand with the increasing use of 3D printers. LiDAR scanners are an effective method of acquiring 3D scan data and are also helpful in digitizing the information in order to enable its use for 3D printing. LiDAR 3D scanning units are also smaller and less expensive than conventional techniques, and consume less power.

Lack of Standardization Hurting LiDAR Market

The key restraint on the use of LiDAR is the difficulty of processing the data. The high volume of the data acquired through LiDAR necessitates the use of advanced programs, which may use different data types to deliver the data. This can cause significant issues due to the consequent need for tools to convert the data into another data format. Due to the diverse application range of LiDAR technologies, coordination between several fields and the respective governing authorities is needed to ensure smooth functioning of LiDAR.

However, though this is a significant constraint on the market at present, the expected development of the LiDAR industry in the coming years will lessen its impact in the coming years, as more industry entities realize the need to develop a common platform for all LiDAR applications.

Infrastructure, Transmission Lines to Exhibit Fastest Growth in Demand for LiDAR

Of the key applications of LiDAR, coastal, transportation, and forestry were the leading segments in 2013, with the coastal applications segment leading the market with a share of 20.3%. However, the application of LiDAR is increasing at the highest rate in the infrastructure and transmission lines applications.

By product type, the global LiDAR market remains well-balanced, with terrestrial LiDAR expected to exhibit a slightly faster growth in demand than airborne LiDAR. The terrestrial LiDAR segment is expected to generate annual revenue of US$305 mn by 2020.

Geographically, North America and Europe collectively hold the majority share in the market, with minimal difference between the two. These two are expected to remain the leading contributors to the global market in the coming years, with both expected to be valued at around US$220 mn by the end of 2020.

The information presented in this review is based on a Transparency Market Research report, titled, ‘LiDAR Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020.’

The global LiDAR market is segmented as follows:

LiDAR Market by Product type

  • Airborne
  • Terrestrial

LiDAR Market by Application

  • Forestry
  • Coastal
  • Transportation
  • Transmission Lines
  • Defense and Aerospace
  • Infrastructure
  • Flood Mapping
  • Others

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