We investigated the fundamental limits to the performance of a laser vibrometer that is mounted on a moving ground vehicle. The noise floor of a moving laser vibrometer consists of speckle noise, shot noise, and platform vibrations. We showed that speckle noise can be reduced by increasing the laser spot size and that the noise floor is dominated by shot noise at high frequencies (typically greater than a few kilohertz for our system). We built a five-channel, vehicle-mounted, wavelength laser vibrometer to measure its noise floor at horizontal range while driving on dirt roads. The measured noise floor agreed with our theoretical estimates. We showed that, by subtracting the response of an accelerometer and an optical reference channel, we could reduce the excess noise (in units of micrometers per second per ) from vehicle vibrations by a factor of up to 33, to obtain nearly speckle-and-shot-noise-limited performance from 0.3 to .
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