Computer peripheral floor cleaning system and navigation method

  • US 5,995,884 A
  • Filed: 03/07/1997
  • Issued: 11/30/1999
  • Est. Priority Date: 03/07/1997
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. A computer peripheral system for carrying out at least one task in a substantially planar region of a working environment, said computer peripheral system comprising:

  • (a) a guided vehicle comprising;

    (1) a body,(2) a propulsion means,(3) a steering means,(4) an actuation means for carrying out said at least one task,(5) an energy storage means,(6) a plurality of sensing means which produce sensor signals corresponding to detection of objects in said working environment and status signals corresponding to the operation of the systems within the vehicle,(7) a communication means for receiving commands and transmitting data across a bi-directional communication link,(8) a control means which directs said propulsion means and said steering means in response to said commands received via said communication means,(b) a host interface module comprising;

    (1) a connection means for interfacing with a host computer,(2) a means for relaying commands from said host computer to said communication means on said vehicle,(3) a means for relaying said sensor signals and said status signals from said communications means on said vehicle to said host computer,(c) a charging station comprising;

    (1) a docking means for coupling to said vehicle,(2) a recharging means for replenishing said energy storage means in said vehicle,(d) a system control apparatus comprising;

    (1) an installation means for loading a control program onto said host computer,(2) a sensor processing means for acquiring said sensor signals and said status signals via said host interface device and storing said status signals and said sensor signals on a mass storage device associated with said host computer,(3) a position determination means comprising a means for calculating from said sensor signals and said status signals an estimated vehicle location, said estimated vehicle location including an estimate of position of said vehicle in said working environment, and an estimate of the orientation of said vehicle in said working environment,(4) a mapping means comprising a means for autonomously generating from said sensor signals, said status signals, and said estimated vehicle location a mathematical model of said working environment, including estimated locations of obstacles and boundaries therein,(5) a scheduling means comprising a means for automatically initiating operation of said computer peripheral system at predefined times according to a plurality of user selectable preferences,(6) a path planning means comprising a means for autonomously generating a mathematical representation of a planned path for said vehicle to follow through said working environment in order to carry out said at least one task according to a plurality of user selectable preferences,(7) a vehicle control means comprising means for issuing control commands to said vehicle via said host interface module, and a means for determining a sequence of commands which will cause said vehicle to follow said planned path starting from said estimated vehicle location, and(8) a user interface means comprising means for presenting on a display device of said host computer a plurality of user selectable preferences which control the operation of said task scheduling means and said path planning means, and means for altering said preferences according to user input.

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