How lidar makes security systems more accurate, reliable, and cost-efficient

Lidar has been most commonly used to give enhanced 3D vision to autonomous vehicles, providing a level of spatial awareness and detection that is not possible by the human eye or other technologies alone. Today, lidar is quickly becoming ubiquitous across other industries as well, with the security market – perimeter, indoor, and even aerial – being ripe for disruption. 

As one of the most advanced detection solutions for security, Ouster lidar uniquely combines 24/7 performance, 360º coverage, and high-resolution to provide accurate and reliable volume-based detection. This means a more efficient (aka less false alarms!) and less costly security system.

In this post, we’ll discuss how lidar overcomes the challenges of traditional video and radar-based security systems and highlight the benefits of lidar for security. This is the first post of our security series. Stay tuned!

People tracking using an Ouster lidar at a train station in San Francisco 

False alarms are very costly (and very annoying)

For those with home security systems, you have likely experienced your own host of false alarms in the past – whether it’s the neighbor’s curious cat, a flyby pigeon, or the wind that triggers the system. 

For high-stakes areas like government properties or dangerous environments, the costs of false alarms are much higher. When false alarms occur, alarm receiving centers sometimes deactivate zones or entire sites in order to investigate the alarm. This leaves areas unmonitored and vulnerable during periods of time, not to mention the additional costs. 

If a site is constantly experiencing false alarms, it’s likely that the security operator could miss a real alarm and assume that it’s just another false alarm. It also means more reliance on the human eye to catch simultaneous potential threats, in real-time, across vast environments. 

The challenges of today’s surveillance systems 

False alarms are often set off by motion and inaccurate object identification. The good news is that false alarms can be reduced by advanced trigger-based detection and classification. This is the difference between knowing whether a potential threat is a dog or a crawling human, a bird or a spy drone. 

However, the problem with even the most advanced video and radar-based security systems is that they lack the 3D spatial awareness, depth accuracy, and reliable 24/7 detection to accomplish this effectively. 

While sophisticated systems do augment cameras with radar for distance detection, radar alone does not provide the resolution needed to accurately distinguish objects. When cameras rely on radar for depth perception and radar relies on cameras for resolution, path predictions are often inaccurate. The result is lots of false positives and costs associated with manually monitoring and investigating the alerts. 

False alarms are a costly problem that cannot be solved by existing technologies alone. 

Lidar makes existing security systems more accurate, efficient, and intelligent

Lidar brings enhanced 3D object detection and tracking to enable advanced trigger-based events, reduce overall false alarms, and ultimately reduce costs associated with managing false alarms and security personnel. 

Compared to 2D cameras and radar, lidar offers unparalleled spatial awareness, cm-level object position data, and even trajectory information. And with Ouster’s industry-leading IP68/69K ruggedness and reliability and 24/7 performance, security teams can trust Ouster to perform throughout all hours of the day in extended indoor and outdoor use.

Compared to 2D cameras and radar, lidar delivers unparalleled spatial and depth awareness under all lighting conditions.
Compared to 2D cameras and radar, lidar delivers unparalleled spatial and depth awareness under all lighting conditions. 

The perception power of Ouster lidar can be integrated into their existing security solutions to unlock advanced capabilities: 

  • 24/7 vision. Lidar performance is not impacted in no-low light conditions, allowing lidar to keep its discrete profile in pitch darkness. No need for floodlights!
  • Specific volume-based alarms. Ouster’s high-resolution lidar enables accurate object detection and classification based on volume. Customers can set specific, trigger-based parameters that ignore very small animals, continuously track an intruder who walks then crawls through multiple zones, or when unauthorized personnel are loitering near protected assets.
  • Beyond the fence detection. With 360º coverage and long range options, Ouster lidar can monitor zones further beyond the perimeter, giving your security teams maximum time to respond to potential intruders.
  • Real-time, continuous intruder tracking. When multiple lidar sensors are deployed, objects can be continuously monitored throughout any entire area. People are seamlessly passed from sensor to sensor, creating a fused network of coverage and giving security teams the information they need to trigger the appropriate threat response. Know exactly where and how long each object has been.
  • Automated PTZ tracking. Lidar can be used to automatically control PTZ cameras when a target of interest is identified, removing the need for manual operations. Because lidar provides much better detection accuracy, triggers can be set around specific behaviors, position, or volume.  
An Ouster OS1-64 lidar running on Seoul Robotics SENSR perception software is used to identify pedestrians entering a grocery store. The red box indicates a zone of interest, which can be defined by the customer. Red cylinders indicate pedestrians inside the designated zone. 

A flexible solution for outdoor and indoor deployments

Just as camera systems can be integrated into almost any environment, lidar is even more flexible. Ouster’s sensors support PoE+ connections, work with multiple perception software partners, and integrate directly into existing security solutions. Additionally, we don’t require additional floodlights for night time perception or housing for weather-proofing. 

Today, Ouster lidar is powering security systems at major international airports, transit stations, corporate offices, and more around the world.

Ouster lidar at one of the busiest subway stations in Asia for indoor pedestrian monitoring
Ouster lidar at one of the busiest subway stations in Asia for indoor pedestrian monitoring

Stay tuned for the next installment of this series. We’ll be diving deeper into Ouster’s plug-and-play solution for the security market, highlight key applications, and showcase why customers are selecting Ouster for mission-critical security applications. 

To learn more or see a demo, contact our team today!