Helicopter altitude measurement is an application that demands high performance for non-contact distance sensors. The AR3000 is well-suited as a laser altimeter, aiding pilots in gauging the distance to the landing pad. The AR3000 can measure 300 meters to natural surfaces and is perfectly capable of functioning outdoors. The high sampling rate means near-real-time updates to the pilot.
This sensor has also been adopted by developers of UAV's (Un-manned Autonomous Vehicles) for automatically measuring the distance to the ground.
Customers who use the AR3000 for this purpose and similar altitude measurements include NASA and other developers of unmanned aerial vehicle technology for research, defense and homeland security organizations.
One particular aerospace company used a pair of AR3000 sensors for measuring low and high altitudes. They selected the AR3000 with 10mRad divergence to measure 0-50 m and the AR3000 with 2mrad divergence to measure up to 50-300 m altitude. The 2mrad version was not successful at measuring to dark tarmac at close ranges so they added the second sensor for the altitude measurements on tarmac landings.