SICK TiM551 & TiM571 Laser Scanner – LIDAR Overview

by on April 29, 2014


This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors.

Evaluating LIDAR Guide
LIDAR Fundamentals
SICK TiM551 – LIDAR Overview
SICK LMS111 – LIDAR Overview
SICK LMS511 – LIDAR Overview
Hokuyo UTM-30LX – LIDAR Overview
LIDAR Review Comparisons

I hope this series (and particularly the final comparison post) proves useful.


The SICK TiM551 is the newest SICK LIDAR on the market for robots. It is a small unit that has good performance and reliability for a low price (I thought it was going to cost double of what they are charging). Despite its small size, as with all of the other SICK LIDAR’s when you hold the sensor you feel like you are holding a well-built solid piece of hardware. This sensor is outdoor rated however there is also an indoor version called the TiM3xx. This sensor is able to return the RSSI (ie intensity/remission) of the returned signal which can be used for identifying different objects (and finding reflectors).

Overall I am very impressed with this sensor. It performed very well in my tests (sorry you need to wait for my final post for the data) and did similar or better, then some of the larger LIDARS. I would highly recommend this sensor for applications that need obstacle avoidance/detection at distances of less than 8 meters. However due to the 1 degree resolution and ±60mm range accuracy, this sensor is not ideal for mapping applications.

There is a connector mount built into the bottom of the sensor that can rotate allowing the cables (power and ethernet) to either come out from the bottom of the sensor, from the back, or any weird angle in-between. This is really nifty and I liked it. The only thing to watch out for is that the rotating connector mount can move around so you need to think about holding your cables in place and strain relieving them.
TiM 551 connector mount

There are two primary ways to get data from this sensor; ethernet and USB. In order to get to the USB port a side plastic flap needs to be opened. As far as I can tell it should lose its IP67 rating when using the sensor via USB.

This sensor reports data at 1 degree resolution however the reported value is based on the average of multiple data points. This helps give a clean output signal.

If I have two complaints it would be the loss of IP67 rating when using the USB port (I think) and that the connectors are a little cheaper quality then the larger SICK’s. They still feel strong but threading a connector on them is not as smooth. This is not really a problem since you typically do not need to connect/disconnect the cables a lot.

Range (m) 0.05 – 10 (8 with reflectivity below 10%)
Field of View (degrees) 270
Angular Resolution (degrees) 1
Scanning Speed (Hz) 15
Range Accuracy (mm) ±60
Spot Diameter (mm) 220 at 10m
Wavelength (nm) 850
Voltage (V) 10 – 28
Power (W) (nominal/max) 3
Weight (lb/kg) 0.55/0.25
Durability (subjective: (poor) 1 – 5 (excellent)) 4 (It is IP67)
Output Interface Ethernet, USB (I think it losses its IP67 rating if using USB)
Other Can synchronize for multiple sensors. Connector mount rotates nicely.
Cost (USD) ~2,000

Since writing this post SICK introduced the TiM561 & the TiM571 which is similar to the TiM551 but has 0.33 degrees of angular resolution. The TiM561 has a range of 10 meters, while the TiM571 has a range 25 meters.

Here is an image showing the field of view and range for the TiM551:
SICK TiM551 range

As a reminder please Click Here to see the final test results from this LIDAR!

I would like to thank SICK for lending me several LIDAR sensors for this review.

Disclaimer: I am only borrowing this LIDAR and will return it when I am done with this evaluation. I have received no money or goods from the company in exchange for this review.

Liked it? Take a second to support David Kohanbash on Patreon!


Leave a Reply