The true cost – implementing lidar into your business

Candrone explains the true cost behind implementing lidar systems into your business.

The LiDAR drone market is expected to double in size to $392 million over the next four years, with a CAGR of 24.2% from 2020-2025 (Markets and Markets, 2020). The easing of governmental regulations on civilian commercial drone applications has propelled the North American market to account for the largest market share for LiDAR drone technology. With this growth, it is clear that the technology is advancing and that businesses are seeing the value in LiDAR. 

If you are still considering implementing lidar into your business workflow, there can be many variables to consider. Here at Candrone, we are equipped with the expertise to help you navigate all the points and their densities. This article will not detail LiDAR sensors’ nuances such as range, points per m2 or field of view as they can create confusion at first glance. Instead, this article aims to summarize the actual cost of getting LiDAR up and running in your business.

Figure 1: Lidar scan of a corridor project

Figure 2: Digital elevation model highlighting the bare earth along the corridor.

To understand the real cost (and benefit) of implementing LiDAR into your business, it’s essential to factor in all the resources necessary. Firstly, having the right tool for the job is critical. A robust, entry-level LiDAR system comes in around $23,000 (USD). A drone to go with it comes in at $10,000-16,000. Additional costs include accessories for your drone, batteries, a base station, and a GPS rover which can add $10,000 to the total. Often forgotten out of the equation is insurance. On a $23,000 LiDAR system, expect to spend a minimum of $2000 a year for equipment insurance. 

Another significant component is understanding the human resources involved. You will need someone with a drone piloting license to acquire the data. An “advanced drone license” (for our canadian readers) costs around $550 (including study materials and test fees), while the FAA commercial drone pilot test (for those in the US) is $200 and the time it takes to prep for these pilot exams is about a week (15-30 hours). Only needing one person to acquire the data is incredible, but keep in mind who will be processing the LiDAR data. If you have someone on your team who knows AutoCAD, they will take on such a task with 4-6 hours of software training. Lastly, LiDAR processing software can be upwards of $20,000, but luckily you could start with open-source software for free. For our calculations, choosing a robust mid-range data processing option will help give us good results with ease, coming in around $8,000.

For the complete Candrone article CLICK HERE.


Note – If you liked this post click here to stay informed of all of the 3D laser scanning, geomatics, UAS, autonomous vehicle, Lidar News and more. If you have an informative 3D video that you would like us to promote, please forward to and if you would like to join the Younger Geospatial Professional movement click here.



  • What would you estimate as accurately measuring tree diameters at 4.5 feet above ground?

  • Pingback: Is LiDAR still expensive? - Sensors-Technology

  • I am a Historic Masonry restoration expert. My industry is competitive as you can imagine. If I could do photo grammetry and lidar into vertical inspections with programmed flight patterns to survey exterior structures using lidar, thermal and detailed photography coupled to my expertise in inspecting these buildings it would give me an extreme advantage over my ludite colleagues it would be fantastic. I’m technically advantaged with FCC licensed operator and advanced electronics from the USN to help me integrate what I’m seeing without the usual expenses of scaffolding and much time manually editing photos and sensor data. Im thinking something like Autocad to combine all my inspections from a drone it would make my work FAST and Detailed. Thermal imaging would give me moisture inspecting and lidar would allow for extremely detailed object inspection. If I had a drone that could do all that and dreaming ahead to being able to use the drone like an an undersea drone that had an arm to extend and take samples would make me unique and also negate the physical safety risks of hanging from scaffold and drilling or chipping the wall. A laser would also be star wars advanced tech for inspecting stone, brick and metals. Could you help an old stonemason get to this next level?

  • Hey Craig. Check out the follow aircraft: DJI M300 and DJI M30T. Currently there is only one (reliable) aircraft IMO on the market that can do what you’re looking to do. The DJI M300 has interchangeable FLIR (thermal) and LIDAR cameras. The newer M30T is far less pricey but does not (to my knowledge) have the ability at the moment to perform LIDAR imaging.
    If you have any questions feel free to reach out.

  • Pingback: Best Lidar Camera – Camera Pilot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.