Hello, I’m interested in using the VL53L0X on a robot to map its environment
I looked through the datasheet but could not find detailed information on the beam width (or cone angle). The Application Note mentions conical “field of view” zones for emitter and collector. Does this mean the IR laser “scans” a large area or is it a narrow laser beam? I am interested in a sensor with very small field of view that I will orient to take multiple measurements.
To easily scan the robot environment over 360°, I am considering using three sensors mounted at 120° from each other and rotate the sensor array over ±60° using a servo. Another option would be to use only one sensor aimed down at an angled mirror that continuously rotates (using a continuous rotation servo). Would the sensor work fine if aimed at a mirror?
To our knowledge, there is nothing in the VL53L0X that does any scanning. Section 5 of the datasheet mentions that there is a 25 degree Field of View (FOV), and in our experience, anything within the cone formed by that angle might be detected. Unfortunately, we do not have any other information available for that sensor outside the datasheet and the application note you linked.
As for your other question, we have not done any tests to determine how well that sensor would work with a mirror or other reflective surface, but we expect it to work fine. You might try getting one of the VL53L0X carriers and performing the test yourself. If you do, we would be interested in knowing how it goes.
Thanks Jon for the quick reply
I was hoping this sensor would measure the distance of a laser point (like a laser pointer) reflected on a target surface. That would be ideal for me. Nevertheless, the 25° FOV is approximately half that of the Maxbotix XL-MaxSonar-EZ4 Sonar Range Finder I am currently using (the narrowest beam in the series).
I noticed that when perfectly aligned with a narrow passages between objects (say less than 24" wide but over 6 ft long), the sonar returns objects at close distance. The robot then “believes” there is no passage in that direction while there is.The 25° FOV should perform better in this kind of situation.
Also, by combining multiple readings at angles smaller than the FOV (e.g. 5° apart) I can estimate the probability of having an obstacle at a certain distance within each angular sector which can increase the reliability of the mapping.
I’ll give it a try and see how it performs!