Are there any regulations (in the US or the EU), plans to regulate or initiatives that think about the "pollution" with or amounts of laser emission in urban spaces in general and the impact it may have on health?
Given the prevalence of LiDAR in robotics and autonomous vehicles - for navigation, mapping or collision detection - I've come to worry about the safety aspect of such vast amounts of laser light that is emitted into the public space.
I know that LiDAR scanners are usually "eye safe" and infrared, but the human eye isn't the only optical sensor on earth and to other non-human participants in traffic, an array of laser sources on an autonomous vehicle (AV) or other robotic or automatic objects might "look" like a "radiation porcupine". That might not be a problem today, with relatively few AVs, but might become one in the future.
That said, I've learned in a recent discussion that LiDAR, at least with autonomous vehicles, begins to fall in popularity as the technology of choice and will probably be fully replaced in driving support systems and future production model AVs. The reason: LiDAR introduces all sorts of problems with maintainability - moving parts, transparent windows, dirt, etc. - while radar reduces mechanical complexity and gives wider design choices. The impact on health of prevalent radar is another story...