Linux-based OS. “We took a Linux
kernel and modified it to suit
our needs. We develop all the
software in-house. We used the
standard GCC (the GNU Compiler
chain, which includes a compiler
and debugger, among other
tools. The robot code is written
in C and C++,” comments Knuth.
By using Linux, the
Intellibot team of engineers was
able to set up a Wi-Fi (802.11b)
wireless IP connection to the
robot, which enables them to
debug the robot code over a
wireless link, eliminating lots of
anguish during development. “In the
old days, we had to strap a laptop onto
the robot to debug the code. That works
fine up until the point the machine
abruptly stops due to some bug. You
can imagine what happened to some
unlucky laptops,” comments Knuth.
This is a close-up view of a rear sensor array and
bumper on an Intellibot Floor Care Robot.
Inside the machine you can see vacuum
hoses, a pump, and other hardware.
Here is a close-up of an Intellibot IV800
Vacuum’s control panel. Visible are
an on/off/run key and switch, speed
setting knob, and keypad for
programming optional settings.
In order to navigate, the robot
assumes a preset starting point
according to the area it is about to
clean. As the robot begins to move,
it believes it knows where it is. Then,
it uses input data from its wheel
encoders and arrays of sensors to
correct that assumption and gain
its actual location in the given
environment, according to Knuth.
Intellibot developed a patented
navigation system that has been in
use for almost two decades. “When
the IV800 Vacuum encounters an
obstacle, it waits to see if it will move.
If it doesn’t within a certain period of
time, it plots a path around the
obstacle, based on data from the
sensor inputs, and then continues on,
ultimately returning to the cleaning
path it was on,” says Knuth.
The robot uses its computers,
software, and ultrasonic sonar sensors
to map areas for cleaning and to
program itself with optimal cleaning
patterns that will clean the most area
in the least time.
“We tend to use off-the-shelf
components wherever possible and
only customize where need be, such
as with some of the circuit boards or
software. We use components that
are common for robots and those that
are common for floor cleaning
COVERING GROUND IN ROBOTIC CLEANER DEVELOPMENT
According to Intellibot, robotics The Scrubber uses redundant two 24 VDC servo type motors with
may clean all commercial floors as of safety systems to avoid accidents. traction water displacement treads,
(at least) 2018. Intellibot is developing These include a virtual sonar that acts which help the tires grip wet floors.
new robotic floor cleaners and as a touch shield and infrared floor The brush drive motors are operate
improving its existing technology. For sensors that ensure the robot will at 24 VDC and produce 3/4 HP at 200
example, the latest IV800 Robotic recognize stairs and not approach them. RPM. The vacuum motor is a 24 VDC,
Scrubber uses a 20-zone sonar sensing Other safety systems include an 8 oz 3/4 HP unit with a three-stage
system to view 360 degrees of the contact force touch shield, which is like peripheral bypass; the bypass vents
cleaning area and to avoid obstacles. a bumper around the front of the robot. the exhaust air to the environment.
The unit’s keypad is password protected This bumper detects whether the robot The robot’s frame is a powder-to prevent tampering. The scrubber is touching anything and lets it know so it coated 5052 aluminum and stainless steel
cleans using two 13-inch nylon bristles. can back up and go around the obstacle. alloy. The brush head is a powder coated
The bristles counter-rotate in relation “This only comes into play if the sonar steel weldment. The robot measures 55
to each other and apply 100 lbs of cannot detect the object,” says Knuth. inches high by 42 inches wide and cleans
scrubbing pressure to floor surfaces. The Scrubber drive systems use 10,230 sq ft per hour on average.
SERVO 09.2008 11