Conference Paper

Optical guidance system for multiple mobile robots

RIKEN, Inst. of Phys. & Chem. Res., Saitama, Japan
DOI: 10.1109/ROBOT.2001.933067 Conference: Robotics and Automation, 2001. Proceedings 2001 ICRA. IEEE International Conference on, Volume: 3
Source: IEEE Xplore

ABSTRACT This paper describes our research work towards the development of an optical guidance system for multiple mobile robots in an indoor environment. The guidance system operates with an environment model, communicates with mobile robots and indicates their target positions by means of a light projection from a laser pointer onto the ground. Processing the image data from a CCD color camera mounted on the mobile robot allows it to detect the laser light beacon on the ground and estimate its relative coordinates. The robot's control system ensures the accurate motion of the robot to the indicated target position. The guidance system subsequently indicates target positions corresponding to a desired route for a specified mobile robot in the fleet. The concept of the optical guidance system, its implementation and experimental results obtained are discussed.

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    ABSTRACT: The optical guidance of robots spans the research topics of robotics, computer vision, communication and real-time control. The proposed method aims to improve the accuracy of guidance along a desired route in an environment that is unknown to the robot. The key idea is to indicate the numerical coordinates of target positions by means of projecting a laser light onto the ground. In contrast with other guidance methods, which communicate the target position numerically, using optical commands avoids the need to maintain the coordinate transformation between the robot’s system and that of the environmental model (“world” reference coordinates). The image processing and communication ensure that the robot accurately follows the route indicated by laser beacons, and self-localization becomes less relevant for guidance. The experimental results have proved the effectiveness of this method.
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter introduced a cooperative navigation strategy for mobile robots operating in indoor environments with the embedded Information Assistant and Optical Pointer devices, as an application of an intelligent environmental robotic system. In order to provide a more flexible navigation, the management of environmental information was considered. The static global information supplies topological details such as the positional relation of any starting point to any goal point in order to create an approximate route. The dynamic local information includes a local map, obstacles and traffic information for accurate navigation. We proposed the information management and navigation algorithm based on the IA and OP devices embedded into the environment. The experimental example of navigation was described. The robot was initially provided with a coarse route to the goal, and the IA devices managed the environmental information in real-time locally. The OP device was used for guidance at intersections, and communication with mobile robots was performed through the IA device. The OP indicated target positions by means of a laser light projected from a laser pointer onto the ground. The mobile robot detected the laser beacons and followed them to reach its goal destination. The experiments have proved the feasibility of the proposed method.
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