Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Archive for May 3rd, 2012

The SICK laser sensor is currently mandatory for autonomous robots – if we want the ability to perceive the world, and therefore show a bit of intelligence

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The security SICK laser sensor is currently mandatory for autonomous robots – if we want the ability to perceive the world, and therefore show a bit of intelligence. It costs almost 3000 euros. While not without its drawbacks, this sensor represents the  state of the art and is the most expensive component in a current autonomous robot.   If we produce robots as prototypes, not on a large scale, we can not provide inexpensive robots yet.

James Falasco – I am curious about the comment that the SICK sensor is mandatory . How so ?

Teresa – Jim, The SICK laser sensor is still mandatory for robots or vehicles that need to show intelligence because:

  • it’s the most reliable distance sensor for medium-long distances, much more than sonar or infrared (which is basically useful for very short distances)
  • it’s necessary to perceive the boundaries of the environment to autonomously build the map of it. The map is necessary for the robot to know where things are.
  • The linear laser, such as SICK, has also drawbacks. The main one is that it only perceives one line.
  • The best way to go would be to have all the information needed and interpreted from a camera, which would be much less expensive, and with richer information.
  • Although we have developed a cognitive vision system which gives meaning to the objects of an image, with two cameras you can get distances to objects, yet we still need further development and some integration to use only camera.
  • We have also integrated into the Cognitive Brain the Kinect sensor with great success. It gives us depth in a conical area in front of the robot, although with short reach (we can’t see the limits of the rooms) and very sensitive to light changes (not good in exterior settings yet).

Summary: We use laser, Kinect and camera sensors. We can’t avoid the laser yet, which is the most expensive component of the whole robot, by far.

I am sure that with more development we can make the camera work to completely substitute the laser. I would love to do it.

Comments of other experts on the subject are very welcome. Thanks.

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