Prepublication endorsements:

“Todd Neff has dug deep to tell the fascinating stories behind a technology that has been quietly examining the world around us for years. Lidar has helped pilots land safely, found hidden archaeological sites, mapped Mars and Earth, measured changes in the Greenland ice sheet, and guided robots around laboratories. Neff ably introduces us to the inventors behind the lasers and their next big challenge: lidar serving as eyes for the self-driving cars of tomorrow. A great insight into how technology works.”

—Jeff Hecht, author of Lasers, Death Rays, and the Long, Strange Quest for the Ultimate Weapon

“Here is a grand tale of genius, grit, and serendipity—a sweeping history of the unsung invention that is transforming modern life. Just as lidar has revolutionized how we see, comprehend, and navigate our world, this timely book will open your eyes to the fast-changing technological environment that surrounds you.”

—David Baron, author of American Eclipse

“Provides a rich history of laser scanning and lidar that will fill in many of the missing pieces of the development puzzle of this soon-to-be ubiquitous technology. GPS became mainstream, but lidar will be more important.”

—Gene V. Roe, PhD, founder of Lidar News

”A masterful presentation of the development of optical remote sensing from its very beginning, using searchlights to study the sky. With the advent of the laser, lidar was born, and this book follows the explosive development of the revolutionary impact that lidar continues to have in fields as diverse as meteorology, surveying, 3-D imaging, virtual reality, and autonomous vehicle guidance. The reader gets to know the key people in each of these fields and effectively joins their team in responding to the complexity of the challenges and the array of advanced technologies involved. A captivating and fast-moving adventure, meticulously researched and documented, this book is essential reading for everyone interested in the expanding impact of science and technology on the modern world.”

—Allan I. Carswell, CM, FRSC, FCAE, FCASI, PhD, DSc, PEng, Professor Emeritus, York University, and founder of Optech Incorporated and president of the Carswell Family Foundation

“Neff has pulled off a seemingly impossible trick by making this complex, era-defining technology extremely easy to understand. The Laser That’s Changing the World illuminates the history—and huge potential—of lidar with clarity, style, and even humor.”

—Sean Higgins, editor,

“Lidar has a fascinating history and future that impact how we live and work, all too often being underappreciated. Todd Neff deftly gets his hands around this broad-based technology that’s sure to be as fun to read as it is interesting.”

—Larry Boyer, author of The Robot in the Next Cubicle