Uses and Challenges of Collecting LiDAR Data from a Growing Autonomous Vehicle Fleet: Implications for Infrastructure Planning and Inspection Practices

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) that utilize LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and other sensing technologies are becoming more prevalent in the transportation industry. Concurrently, transportation agencies are increasingly challenged with asset management, traffic operations, and safety assessments. The affordability of LiDAR technology continues to increase. Given this, there will be substantial challenges and opportunities for the utilization of big data resulting from the growth of AVs with LiDAR. A proper understanding of the data size generated from this technology will help agencies in making decisions regarding storage, management, and transmission of the data. This study explored the point cloud data size generated from a 16-beam LiDAR sensor unit at different operating modes and driving speeds with a mobile platform in the highway environment. Two types of roadway (collector and arterial) with three different sections (travel lanes, right of way, and unfiltered/total) were considered in this study for data collection. Conservative projections show an estimated total data size ranging from 1 to 3.5 gigabytes for 10,000 vehicle-miles traveled using the selected LiDAR unit. AVs will likely use multiple and/or higher resolution units. This study also developed simple models for estimating data size based on LiDAR operating mode and collection period duration.

  • Record URL:
  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Utah State University, Logan

    Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
    Logan, UT  United States  84332

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Rahman, Md Ashikur
    • Mekker, Michelle M
  • Publication Date: 2021-3


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 59p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01770406
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC-577
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2021 4:38PM