RPLIDAR is a low cost 360 degree 2D laser scanner (LIDAR) solution developed by RoboPeak. The system can perform 360 degree scan within 6 meter range. The produced 2D point cloud data can be used in mapping, localization and object/environment modelling.
The RPi LIDAR can scan between 2-10Hz sampling at 1 degree intervals to generate a point map of its surroundings. This data can be used for mapping, localisation or object avoidance modelling and avoidance. For instance, LIDAR, that are larger and more powerful, are used by Google's self driving cars to allow the to 'see'!
The RPi LIDAR's data can be accessed through a UART interface for direct interface with Arduino, Raspberry Pi or most other microcontrollers and SBCs. The open source SDK will allow you to develop powerful tools to utilise LIDARs powerful capabilities.