Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus

  • US 8,378,613 B2
  • Filed: 10/21/2008
  • Issued: 02/19/2013
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/28/2004
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. An autonomous cleaning apparatus, comprising:

  • a chassis;

    a drive system disposed on the chassis and operable to enable movement of the cleaning apparatus;

    a controller in communication with the drive system, the controller including a processor operable to control the drive system to steer movement of the cleaning apparatus;

    a cleaning head system disposed on the chassis and having a cleaning pathway providing pneumatic communication with a removable debris bin, the cleaning head system comprising an agitating brush that throws debris into the removable debris bin; and

    a sensor system in communication with the controller, the sensor system comprising;

    a piezoelectric sensor disposed along a wall of the cleaning pathway in a location to receive impacts of debris thrown by the agitating brush, and responsive to a debris impact thereon to generate a debris signal indicative of such impact;

    a bump sensor for generating a bump signal; and

    an obstacle following sensor disposed on a side of the autonomous cleaning apparatus for generating an obstacle signal;

    wherein the processor executes a prioritized arbitration scheme to identify and implement one or more dominant behavioral modes based upon at least one signal received from the sensor system and the processor directs the drive system to steer the cleaning apparatus in a forward direction, turning to cover the location of the debris, in response to the debris signal generated by the piezoelectric sensor.

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