If you need some sort of distance sensor for your robot, drone, or other project, you have two options: a cheap ultrasonic sensor with limited range, or an expensive laser-based system that’s top of the line. LIDAR-Lite fills that gap by stuffing an entire LIDAR module onto a small board.
In traditional LIDAR systems, a laser is used to measure the time of flight for a light beam between the sensor and an object. The very accurate clock and laser module required for this system means LIDAR modules cost at least a few hundred dollars. LIDAR-Lite gets around these problems by blinking a LED with a ‘signature’ and looking for that signature’s return. This tech is packaged inside a SoC that reduces both the cost and size of a traditional laser-based LIDAR system.
As for the LIDAR-Lite specs, it can sense objects out to 40 meters with
5% 95% accuracy, communicates to any microcontroller over an I2C bus, and is small enough to fit inside any project.
Considering the existing solutions for distance measurement for robots and quadcopters, this sensor will certainly make for some very awesome projects.
Edit: One of the guys behind this posted a link to their spec sheet and a patent in the comments