Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Autonomous Vehicles

Lidar Not Necessary For Autonomy, But Let’s At Least Spell It Correctly

Lidar is a sensor that’s used for a variety of purposes. Almost every autonomous vehicle program in the world except for Tesla’s uses lidar sensors. This article isn’t about the uses or qualities of the sensors, however, it’s about how to spell the word. I’ve been struggling with it for years, personally, but had never looked it up in a style book.

Lidar is a sensor that’s used for a variety of purposes. Almost every autonomous vehicle program in the world except for Tesla’s uses lidar sensors. This article isn’t about the uses or qualities of the sensors, however, it’s about how to spell the word. I’ve been struggling with it for years, personally, but had never looked it up in a style book.

There is a fairly definitive answer to this question from Carol Deering and Jason Stoker published in LIDAR News Magazine in 2014: Lets Agree on the Casing of Lidar. They reviewed abstracts from Scopus, Web of Science, Current Contents Connect, GeoRef for sonar, radar, and lidar. While sonar and radar, predecessors and highly related acronyms, were almost universally lower cased throughout, lidar was still in the process of achieving the same status.

They concluded that treating lidar exactly the same as sonar and radar, without capitalization except as required by other rules of grammar such as being the first word in a sentence or being in a capitalized heading was appropriate.

Ironically, this means that their conclusion that lidar should be lower-cased was headlined with Lidar in a magazine whose title includes LIDAR.

I’m sure my 2016 article Tesla & Google Disagree About LIDAR — Which Is Right? breaking down the reasons why lidar is unnecessary for autonomous driving and Tesla is correct is not the definitive work on autonomous vehicle sensors. It does, however, feature a completely typical lack of consistency in capitalization of lidar. If you read the article, you’ll note that lidar is all-caps throughout, except in the radar diagram where I failed miserably to follow my own capitalization decision.

Not that CleanTechnica and I are alone in being confused about the correct capitalization.

The USGS uses both “LIDAR” and “lidar”, sometimes in the same document, the New York Times predominantly uses “lidar” for staff-written articles, although contributing news feeds such as Reuters may use Lidar.

Similarly, the Western University’s style guide still says LIDAR, as does the IEEE’s. Wiley apparently likes LiDAR as its LiDAR for Dummies uses that version. And CRC Press apparently likes that too, with its 2018 book, LiDAR Remote Sensing and Applications. Just because this all isn’t bad enough, many organizations call it ladar, with its own range of capitalizations.

However, I’ll leave it to Oxford to have the final word.

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word. It is different from an acronym which is usually produced from the initial letters of words e.g. lidar from light detection and ranging.

When in doubt, go with Oxford. At worst you’ll be stodgy, but apparently not in this case.

 
 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

is Board Observer and Strategist for Agora Energy Technologies a CO2-based redox flow startup, a member of the Advisory Board of ELECTRON Aviation an electric aviation startup, Chief Strategist at TFIE Strategy and co-founder of distnc technologies. He spends his time projecting scenarios for decarbonization 40-80 years into the future, and assisting executives, Boards and investors to pick wisely today. Whether it's refueling aviation, grid storage, vehicle-to-grid, or hydrogen demand, his work is based on fundamentals of physics, economics and human nature, and informed by the decarbonization requirements and innovations of multiple domains. His leadership positions in North America, Asia and Latin America enhanced his global point of view. He publishes regularly in multiple outlets on innovation, business, technology and policy. He is available for Board, strategy advisor and speaking engagements.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Transport

It’s kind of fun to think about how future kids might not know anything about gas-powered cars. When they become the norm, and kids...

Autonomous Vehicles

QUT robotics researchers working with Ford Motor Company have found a way to tell an autonomous vehicle which cameras to use when navigating. Professor...

Aviation

A new flow battery for electric vehicles is getting attention from DARPA, NASA, and the US Air Force.

Buildings

Residential Energy Retrofits: NREL Leverages Partnerships and ResStock Tool To Help City of Chicago Set Priorities for Energy Efficiency, Affordability, Resiliency, Equity, and Transparency...

Copyright © 2022 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.