Drive control method of robotic vacuum cleaner

  • US 5,621,291 A
  • Filed: 03/31/1995
  • Issued: 04/15/1997
  • Est. Priority Date: 03/31/1994
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. A method of controlling the travel of a self-propelled robotic vacuum cleaner relative to a wall, the cleaner including independently driven right and left drive wheels, a navigation sensing first unit for emitting first ultrasonic waves in a forward direction and receiving reflected first ultrasonic waves, and an ultrasonic sensing second unit for emitting second ultrasonic waves in a lateral direction and receiving reflected second ultrasonic waves, the method comprising the steps of:

  • A) advancing the cleaner in a travel path alongside a wall by driving the drive wheels, while emitting first and second ultrasonic waves from the first and second sensing units, respectively;

    B) oscillating the navigation sensing unit to the right and left through an angle while emitting the first ultrasonic waves and determining from the first ultrasonic waves reflected off an obstacle whether an obstacle lies in the travel path, and a distance between the cleaner and any detected obstacle;

    C) determining from the first and second ultrasonic waves reflected off the wall, when no obstacle is sensed in step B, a travel angle formed by the travel path relative to the wall, and a distance from the cleaner to the wall;

    D) controlling the first and second drive wheels to maintain the travel path substantially parallel to the wall by changing the relative speeds between the right and left drive wheels to bring the travel angle to zero when the travel angle is determined to be different from zero in step C;

    E) controlling the drive wheels to maintain the travel path substantially parallel to the wall at a selected distance from the wall by;

    E1) increasing a speed of one of the right and left drive wheels located farther from the wall than the other of the right and left drive wheels to move the cleaner closer to the wall when the distance between the cleaner and wall determined in step C is greater than a reference distance, andE2) increasing a speed of the other of the right and left drive wheels to move the cleaner farther from the wall when the distance between the cleaner and wall determined in step C is less than the reference distance; and

    F) changing the travel path from the substantially parallel relationship with the wall in response to detecting, in step B, an obstacle within a predetermined distance from the cleaner, to avoid collision with the obstacle.

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