Celestial navigation system for an autonomous robot

  • US 7,706,917 B1
  • Filed: 07/07/2005
  • Issued: 04/27/2010
  • Est. Priority Date: 07/07/2004
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A navigational control system for a mobile robot operating within a working area, the navigational control system comprising:

  • a transmitter disposed within a working area and comprising a stationary emitter configured to direct first and second signals, modulated to be different from one another, onto a remote surface above the working area, such that the first and second signals are reflected from spaced apart positions on the remote surface; and

    a receiving subsystem disposed on the mobile robot and comprising;

    a receiver installed at a top surface of the mobile robot and directed generally upward, the receiver including at least four discrete photodiodes arranged to face in different directions and configured to generate respective response signals responsive to the reflected signals; and

    a processor connected to the receiver and configured todetermine a first angle associated with the first reflected signal, from relative amplitudes of the response signals from the photodiodes in response to the first signal as reflected off of the remote surface, todetermine a second angle associated with the second reflected signal, from relative amplitudes of the response signals from the photodiodes in response to the second signal as reflected off of the remote surface, and todetermine a location of the robot within the working area relative to the reflected signals, based on the first and second determined angles;

    wherein the photodiodes are angularly spaced to face in different directions about the receiver so as to detect one or both of the reflected signals in various positions within the working area.

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