Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot

  • US 8,788,092 B2
  • Filed: 08/06/2007
  • Issued: 07/22/2014
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/24/2000
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A robot comprising:

  • a robot housing defining a substantially cylindrical shape having an arcuate forward portion in a plane parallel to a floor surface;

    a drive system housed by the robot housing and configured to maneuver the robot with respect to the floor surface;

    at least three cliff sensor components housed in the forward portion of the robot housing substantially near a forward edge and spaced from each other, each sensor component aimed downwardly toward the floor surface and comprising an optical emitter and a photon detector configured to receive emitter emissions reflected off the surface, each cliff sensor component having a detection volume defined by an intersection of an emission field of the optical emitter and a field of view of the photon detector, the detection volumes of the at least three downwardly-aimed sensor components being distributed along the arc defined by the arcuate forward portion of the robot housing;

    at least one wall sensor component housed in the forward portion of the robot housing and aimed outwardly, substantially parallel to the floor surface; and

    a circuit in communication with the detector and the drive system for redirecting the robot when the photon detector of a respective sensor component ceases to detect the surface.

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