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CHAPTER
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MOWING AND SWEEPING ROBOT
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n previous chapters the robot roamed around an area in a random manner while intelligently avoiding obstacles and staying within the con nes of a speci ed area. If the robot is equipped with a vacuum cleaner or a mowing blade it could vacuum the oor or mow the lawn while it is doing the roaming. This makes our robot a very useful device. In this chapter you will learn how to make the robot: Vacuum an of ce area with partitions, desks, cabinets, and chairs. Mow a lawn with trees and owerbeds. The lawn will not necessarily be surrounded by a physical barrier.
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In this section we want to use the robot to vacuum an of ce oor. An of ce area can be cluttered with many obstacles, but the problem of con ning the robot is not an issue since the area is walled. Con nement becomes a matter of obstacle avoidance rather than actively checking for con ning devices.
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11.1.1 THE BASE PROGRAM To test our algorithms we will use the same of ce throughout. Figure 11.1 shows code for a base program where the MoveRobot subroutine is left blank for now. This subroutine will be developed in the subsequent sections. The subroutine DrawOf ce uses the Data command to create an array of locations and types of furniture (cabinets and desks). We then use a for-next loop to draw the furniture at the required location. The command DrawShape VarS,X,Y,Scale is used to draw a shape de ned in a variable VarS at a location X, Y and with a scaling factor Scale. The variable VarS contains a string, which is a set of instructions for moving up, down, left, right, and so on. (See Sec. C.7 for details.) We also use more Data statements along with the mPolygon command to shade the furniture and to draw the of ce partitions. Notice that all objects are drawn as they would be seen by the robot. This is as if we have taken a slice through the room at a few inches above the oor and parallel to the oor. Thus chairs, for example, appear as four little circles, which are the legs (see Fig.11.3). The InitRobot subroutine locates the robot and puts the pen down. To indicate the effectiveness of the vacuuming, the pen feature on the robot will be used to leave a trail showing where the robot has cleaned. In this manner we will have a visual indication of the amount of coverage and a way of gauging the effectiveness of the algorithm. The robot s size is set to 11 pixels so that we can establish a scale for the of ce area. If the robot s radius is 1 ft then the of ce would have a 4628 ft2 area. This is a realistic size for the robot and of ce. 11.1.2 A FIRST ATTEMPT The rst algorithm we will try is a simple one where we will make the robot roam randomly around the area (as in Chap. 5) while avoiding obstacles. Figure 11.2 shows the code for the subroutine MoveRobot. This subroutine replaces the one in the base program of Fig. 11.1. The code of this subroutine makes the robot move around while avoiding obstacles, using a combination of the infrared sensors and the bumper sensors. This combination will work in most cases and will enable the robot to avoid small objects such as chair legs. Also the use of random numbers allows for avoiding a situation where the robot becomes stuck repeating the same sequence of moves. Notice that instead of using rForward 1 directly inside MoveRobot we call a subroutine ForwardRobot. For now this code forwards the robot one pixel, but this routine will accomplish more complicated actions with later improvements of the algorithm. When you run the program you will notice that this algorithm does not prevent the robot from going over an area that has already been vacuumed. You will also notice that the robot may eventually get in a situation where it is repeatedly vacuuming the same area. 11.1.3 AN IMPROVEMENT A possible improvement for the algorithm of Fig. 11.2 is to minimize the possibility of going over an area that has already been vacuumed. With a real robot this might be dif cult to achieve with simple sensors. One possible way is to have a method of monitoring the level of dirt being sucked by the vacuum pump. Another, less desirable way, is to spray
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