Using Beacons to Improve Location of Mobile Robots

There’s new research from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Thailand on Sensor Fusion of Light Detection and Ranging and iBeacon to Enhance Accuracy of Autonomous Mobile Robot in Hard Disk Drive Clean Room Production Line (pdf).

Mobile robots are broadly divided into automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs). AGVs are confined to predetermined paths while AIVs have the flexibility to move in any direction without any infrastructural alterations. Factories often face challenges when it comes to synchronising mobile robots with target machinery. The paper presents a solution to reduce errors in robot localisation and improve parking accuracy.

Adaptive Monte Carlo Localisation (AMCL), a probability-based localisation system which relies on LiDAR and odometry data often misjudges robot positions in environments where the factory production line and room shapes are alike. To mitigate this, a novel landmark-based localisation strategy using iBeacon, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device, is proposed. This approach aims to provide more accurate localisation of mobile robots, addressing the shortcomings of the AMCL system.

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Using iBeacons for Locating Robots

Beacons are great for use with robots for use in determining extra contextual information. There’s recent research on Autonomous Navigation of an Indoor Mecanum-Wheeled Omnidirectional Robot Using Segnet (pdf) that uses iBeacons to determine a rough location of the robot.

The locating uses Kalman filtering and trilateration to get a fix for the robot.

If you want to learn more about using RSSI to determine robot location there’s also a presentation video Robot Localization using Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons RSSI Measures by David Obregón Castellanos.

Read about Using Beacons, iBeacons for Real-time Locating Systems (RTLS)