In need of a LiDAR Scanner with continuous rotational capability, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) funded my team and I to create a novel scanning system. Our team was tasked with creating a $1M system with a budget of $100,000. The LiDAR Scanner needed to provide ultra-precise motion and positional data to 0.0005 degrees.  Working with the University of Colorado IdeaForge engineering lab, our team began our 9 month project.
The purpose of this LiDAR Scanner was to direct a LiDAR beam and receive the reflected LiDAR beam. This LiDAR beam is used to scan the atmosphere, detecting water density in the atmosphere for environmental data that will be used to accurately predict weather patterns in areas and contribute to our understanding of climate change. The ADLS-V9 system was designed to be deployed on air, sea, and land systems. It’s robust design was optimized to be deployed anywhere from boats exposed to arctic temperature to the back of a pickup truck driving over rocky mountain roads.
I was project lead with the role of project manager on a team of 9 diverse engineers from electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science backgrounds. Our team invented a new scanning technology which utilized slip rings and an innovative gearbox system to rotate a scanning mirror assembly to direct a lidar beam. We custom manufactured over 100 custom components out of aircraft grade aluminum using traditional mill, lathe, and CNC manufacturing. Our team spent 500 hours in the machine shop creating each component with extreme precision. 
Ultimately, our team was able to make a system that rotated continuously in a 360° range around the y-axis and 180° around the azimuthal axis. Using extreme precision Kollmorgen motors and limit switches, we were able to control and measure the position of our scanning beam with extreme precision, meeting our customer’s objectives. 
Ultimately, more ADLS-V9 systems will be built and deployed in a LiDAR scanning fleet for NOAA, starting with 3 units and scaling up. 
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