Hokuyo LiDAR

This tutorial will guide you through the process of connecting a LiDAR sensor to your Leo Rover.





Hokuyo LiDAR

This tutorial will guide you through the process of connecting a LiDAR sensor to your Leo Rover.

Light Detection and Ranging devices, or Lidars for short, are mechanisms used for mapping the environment, object detection, tracking the speed of vehicles and in a vide range of other applications. In robotics 2D lidars, like RPLidar A2M8, are used for things such as indoor SLAM (Simultaneous localization and mapping) or safety systems.

Hokuyo laser scanner

The steps might slightly differ for other LiDAR sensors but should be essentially similar.

See more information on the Hokuyo UG-04LX-UG01 device here.

What to expect?

After completing this tutorial, you should be able to visualize the model and data from the sensor like in the video below.


List of components

  • Hokuyo URG-04LX-UG01
  • a 3d-printed 04008 Hokuyo URG-04LX adapter
  • miniUSB-USB A cable (provided by default with Leo Rover)
  • 4x m5x10 mounting screws
  • 2x m3x10 mounting screws

Available in our offer - Hokuyo URG Lidar with adapter

Mechanical integration

When mounting the sensor, you should be particularly careful not to obstruct the field of view by other parts of the Rover.

We developed 3D printable models of mechanical interfaces that allow you to mount the aforementioned sensor to the mounting plate of the rover. Locating the sensor  the top of the robot provides a vide field of view with not many obstacles for the laser beam to get caught on. Get the files from here: Leo Rover Documentation - Addon adapters.

With 2x M3x6 Allen screws connect the sensor to the printed interface plate.
Use 4x M5x10 Allen screws to fasten the sensor to the Leo Rover.

Wiring and electronics connection

The sensor can be connected to the robot's main computer via the USB socket positioned at the top of the rover.

USB connection provides power to the sensor and allows the data transfer. This means that no external power sources are necessary. Some lidars might need external power connections, that's when powerbox might come in handy.

With everything connected Leo Rover looks like this:

Hokuyo sensor on Leo Rover

Software integration

The first thing you can do is to make sure your device has the correct permissions and is available at the fixed path on your system. To do this, you can add the following rule to the udev service:


Paste these lines to /etc/udev/rules.d/lidar.rules file and reload udev rules by typing:

Your device should now be available at the /dev/lidar path.

We want the sensor functionality to be available in the ROS ecosystem, so you should install a ROS package that provides a node for the sensor you are trying to integrate.

Now, create a launch file that would start the node with a fitting configuration.


Include your launch file in the robot.launch file, so that your node will start at boot.

In /etc/ros/robot.launch:

Your robot should be aware of where the scanner is located and what space it occupies. You can ensure it does that by creating a URDF model of the sensor.


And including it in the description that is uploaded at boot.


You can experiment with the URDF file and create a more representative model of the sensor by adding more visual and collision tags or by including meshes in STL or COLLADA format.

The last step is to either reboot the robot or restart the leo service.


Reading and visualizing the data of the Hokuyo laser scanner

The robot should now publish the LaserScan messages on the /scan topic. You can check the raw data that it sends by typing:

If you have ROS installed on your computer, you can get a more graphical representation of the data with RViz. If you don't have ROS, you can follow this guide:

Install ROS on your computer

Before starting RViz, make sure you completed the Connecting another computer to ROS network section of ROS Development tutorial:

ROS Development

Now, open RViz by typing rviz in the terminal, or, if you have the leo_viz package installed, type:

This will start RViz with visualization of the current robot model.

On the Displays panel click Add -> By topic and search for the /scan topic. Choose the LaserScan display and click Ok.  

A screenshot of the Displays panel

You should now be able to see the data from the sensor visualized as points in 3D space.

To put the points into the camera image, you can also add the Camera display.

Adding the Camera display

Be sure to check compressed as the Transport Hint and /camera/image_raw as the Image Topic.

Transport Hint and Image Topic

What next?

Lidars are commonly used in projects involving autonomous navigation, you might be interested in a tutorial about it. They are however, not the only way of teaching a Leo Rover how to move on it's own. Check out our line follower tutorial if you want to learn more. You can also check our Knowledge Base for more instructions.


Need help? Contact us - contact@fictionlab.pl