The DENNING MOBILE ROBOT COMPANY of
* 1 History
* 2 Autonomous navigation techniques
* 2.1 Indoor operation * 2.2 Outdoor operation
* 3 Programming * 4 References
By 1999, the Denning company was defunct. In 1998, RWI joined with
ISRobotics to form iRobot . More introduced the
In 2003 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA ) contracted with Segway to convert fifteen Segway PTs into Segway Robotic Mobility Platforms. Segway and delivered units to DARPA in April. In June DARPA worked with SPAWAR Systems Center San Diego to distribute the units to 14 government and university research institutions.
AUTONOMOUS NAVIGATION TECHNIQUES
An ActivMedia Pioneer 3-AT robot at the Georgia Institute of Technology
Research robots improved in autonomous indoor operation during the 1990s and the 2000s. Ready-made research bases offer the necessary sensing, mobility and computational power. These include the Pioneer, PatrolBot , PowerBot, and PeopleBot. These platforms can map buildings and navigate out-of-the-box, using SLAM and a variation on Monte Carlo method /Markov localization and modified value-iterated search, with any sensor of the 2-D range-finder class. This method creates a human readable map of the robot's workspace that can control and track robots as they move. Evolution Robotics offers single-camera VSLAM software, which replaces range-finding with visual pattern-matching , but this system cannot create a human-readable map. Other groups are building stereocam-based VSLAM. Because the stereo camera provides range-finding data, maps can be made and robots tracked. The K-Team Khepera , Segway-based platforms and other research robots can link to external computing resources to use such software.
Precision depends upon sensor precision, data granularity and calculation speed. Range-finding lasers may have +/-1 cm accuracy while digital stereo camera accuracy is limited to .25 pixel and thus is range-dependent. Vision-based systems require more computational resources than simple range-finding systems such as lasers, but may employ a digital signal processor embedded with the camera. Cost/precision trade-offs led to less expensive vision-based systems on consumer robots while commercial and industrial robots and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) tend to use laser-based systems.
Outdoors, localization is primarily handled with
In constrained outdoor areas, some robots, such as the John Deere Gator, simply surround the perimeter with radio beacons and use simple triangulation from three or more beacons to localize and navigate. Beacons are also used indoors by older AGVs in factories.
Much research software for autonomous robots is