Turbulence can be pretty annoying on a flight. Not only does it cause drinks to spill and the fasten seatbelt sign to remain on (usually for far longer than it needs to be), turbulence can also be difficult to fly through.
A new project from DLR (the German Aerospace Center), will be utilizing lidar systems to detect clear air turbulence. Traditionally radars cannot detect this type of turbulence as their signals generally need cloud particles reflect off of. However, the shorter wavelength of lasers allows for reasonable signals to bounce off of small air molecules.