That's only one use for it, it's got many uses - those self driving cars use it for avoiding obstacles, and there's loads of other things it's used in such as robotics, 3D scans of rooms etc.

Also it's cheap now - you can buy Lidar sensors that do 360 degrees for around about £90 now, they can be used with DIY projects using Arduino, Rapsberry PI etc.

If you want to make a toy remote car for using in your house, you can get lidar sensors for about £20 - (to stop it driving into walls/furniture etc).

I might glue some to the wife’s car, £20 you say....
It's like radar but uses laser beams which penetrate through gaps in foliage to record the ground beneath. It means that you can use a lidar-equipped drone to create an image of the terrain where a satellite image would just show the canopy.

It's main attraction is that you can easily find man-made disturbances such as wartime trench systems in jungles or overgrown ancient cities - as well as natural features like springs and sinkholes.

It's fun to watch in the many TV programmes that have been on lately.
and underground arms dumps belonging to unpleasant people in Norn Iron. Allegedly.
Pendant Hat On
It’s Centripetal not Centripedal Force.
Pendant Hat Off
Hardly new, it’s been used for “shallow” water seabed mapping for ages, the Aussies are/were world leaders in the field.
Air Traffic Control use it since 2007 at least for wake turbulence, quite a few major airports have it (but not on all runways)


A partial Lidar survey of England & Wales gives you some idea of what it's like:


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