When browsing through the internet, it is relatively easy to encounter prejudices about LiDAR sensors not working well in rain or snow. However, Ouster released a video in december 2019, comparing their LiDAR sensor with a camera side by side.
It turns out that the performance of their LiDARs is largely unaffected when it comes to detecting objects in the distance. A study from the university of Warwick shows that only raindrops close to the sensor are often detected. However, raindrops that are further away than 50 meters are less frequently detected. Still, in wet conditions the highly reflective water reduces range on the ground.
Ouster also expains in detail on their website, why LiDARs benefit from a large aperture and a fast shutter speed in comparison to digital cameras in humid and foggy environments. They also show in a previous blog post, why Ouster LiDAR units generally perform better in humid environments than most of their competitors. A major reason for that is the specific wavelength (850 nm) they use for their laser. While sensors with a different wavelength (for instance 1550 nm) have a higher water vapor absorption and thus reduce range, Ouster's LiDARs stand out by several orders of magnitude.
In another blog post Tom Grey, Director of Product Marketing at Ouster, emphazises that in rain camera performance may be more degraded than LiDAR performance, but still diversity of sensors is a key factor. For instance, he explains how cameras in combination with LiDAR sensors provide ultimate safety for autonomous vehicles.
If you are interested to learn more about the performance of Ouster's devies in rainy and humid conditions, consider following a link below: