Engineers have figured out how to help robots navigate in the dark. Even if it's an unfamiliar place

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed low-cost, low-cost technology.

power consumption. It helps robots accurately navigate indoors even in poor lighting conditions and without recognizable landmarks or features.

The technology consists of sensors thatuse Wi-Fi signals so that the robot can understand where it is going. This is a new approach to navigating indoor robots. Most systems rely on optical light sensors such as cameras and lidars. In this case, the so-called Wi-Fi sensors use RF signals rather than light or visual cues. Therefore, they can work in difficult conditions - with poor or changing lighting, as well as rooms with "repetitive" parameters - in long corridors and in warehouses.

The researchers noted that the use of Wi-Fi makes this technology a cost-effective alternative to expensive and power-hungry lidars.

Credit: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Researchers tested the technology on the flooroffice building with long corridors and dark warehouses. They placed several access points in space and equipped the robot with Wi-Fi sensors, as well as a camera and LiDAR to take measurements for comparison. The experiment showed that the localization and mapping accuracy provided by Wi-Fi sensors was on par with commercial cameras and LiDAR sensors. As a result, the system helped the robots navigate in the dark. Even if it is an unfamiliar place, without familiar landmarks.

A team of researchers from the Wireless groupThe Communication Sensing and Networking Group, led by UC San Diego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dinesh Bharadia, will present its work at the 2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) to be held May 23-27 in Philadelphia.

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