V5 Distance vs V4 Ultrasonic

My team was looking to use a sensor to detect how far up a ball is in the robot (like in the indexers). We were wondering, besides the extra 3-wire ports, are there any other reasons to use the new V5 distance sensor rather than the V4 ultrasonic sensor?


Lidar is a lot more accurate than Sonar so youll get better results with the V5 distance sensor.


I would be cautions about generalizing that LIDAR is more accurate. Do you have experience with the sensors to back that up?

The new V5 distance sensor does have some benefits on paper, although I haven’t yet tried one. The old ultrasonic measured in a cone. This means that objects could potentially interfere with a measurement unexpectedly. The new distance sensor is more of a point measurment. The new sensor can also estimate the approximate size(small, medium,large). Finally, the sensor estimates the speed based on the rate of change from sensor. Again I need to stress I only have experience with the ultrasonic sensor.


I haven’t personally used the V5 distance sensor yet, but I know people who have, and they say it is significantly more accurate than the cortex ultrasonic sensor.

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The v5 distance sensor has very good performance which I have seen first hand. Here are some comparisons with the legacy ultrasonic sensors.

  • distance sensor uses 1 smart port vs. 2 three wire ports
  • the distance sensor uses a laser which remains focused at long distances vs the ultrasonic waves that expand into a cone over a long distance.
    • this means you could potentially pack multiple distance sensors near each-other with little to no interference
    • the distance sensor works much better at detecting curved surfaces such as balls at a range BUT both sensors work the best against parallel, flat surfaces
  • distance sensor only costs 8 USD more
  • distance sensor has a lower profile than the ultrasonic sensors
  • distance sensor could potentially receive improvements in future firmware updates

If you have the budget for it, I would recommend the v5 distance sensor.


Definitely agree, the new distance sensor has been far smoother than using the old ultrasonics

However I stand by that you should never buy a product for what it is promised to be, only what it is today.


Although I do agree that the distance sensor could be better than the ultrasonic, the distance sensor tends to not work when there’s lots of light.

For instance, attached below is an example of 66799a’s auton failing during finals match (it worked every single time before) because of light.


That is interesting, do you think they could reproduce that issue? I am wondering what exactly is causing that

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what’s the timecode for the match ? (ok, I see the match now)
How did lighting change ? (and I also see that now)
so it looks like strong sun light was on the field. The distance sensor will be affected by high intensity ambient light, the distance that can be detected reduces. With very high ambient lighting, the distance can be reduced to perhaps 600mm.


Its worth mentioning that direct or intense sunlight can be an issue with a lot of optical sensors, even beyond vex. I know from experience that the vex line tracker can be thrown off by sunlight as well.


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