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Thread: "ALMower" [was: Robotic Lawn Mower]

  1. #1
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    "ALMower" [was: Robotic Lawn Mower]

    Hi everyone,


    First I'm sorry that I posted this request for my first post.
    I'm planning to build an autonomous lawnmower.
    Does anyone has idea how Friendly Robotics (Robomow) system works?

    I need your precious help
    Thanks a lot for your response
    Last edited by revoltage; 08-26-2008 at 12:57 PM.

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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    Although he's not using a PIC (actually a full-blown PC), Ooops here is working on a full size autonomous lawnmower. I've been offering up some hardware and software help for him.

    If you have some specific questions we can probably be of more help.

    And, hey, this is a great first post to the community - welcome to the TRC! Don't stress your dissertation - they always have a habit of coming together at the last possible instant.
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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    Yeah, check out Ooops' S.A.M.i project. I'm sure you guys can swap ideas!
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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    Welcome revoltage!
    I am in the midst of couple of these mower projects. The first one is an all terrain mower, I live in the mountains where flat land is scarce, and hills are a pain to mow! It is still on the "white board" stages. S.A.M.i on the other hand is a bit further along. Link http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1856 ) I am concentrating on the mechanics at this point, more so than the programing. I would be happy to assist anyway possible.

    Let me say I think you have come to the right spot for help ... everyone here is great!
    Ed

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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    Quote Originally Posted by revoltage View Post
    Does anyone has idea how Friendly Robotics (Robomow) system works?
    I have one. You can go to their site for videos on setup and operation of the different models.

    The robot has two drive motors and a front caster, two sensors that allow it to sense the perimeter wire, a set of front and back bump sensors, a tilt sensor and a compass. There's also a control module that you can pop out to drive it manually, set settings and so forth, which you stow back on the robot to run it autonomously.

    Autonomous operation has two modes. In edging mode you position the robot near the perimeter wire and it finds it and then follows it to mow along the perimeter. When the compass turns 360 degrees so the robot is back where it started it goes into interior mode. In this mode it drives forward and reverse in a zig-zag pattern, reversing each time it hits the perimeter wire or an obstacle like a tree. After each pass it turns to a different angle and makes another pass.

    Most of the smarts seem to have to do with how to deal with getting stuck. It's pretty amusing to watch when the mower works itself into a corner and has to try several different patterns of backing up and turning before it finds where the lawn is again.

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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    That's awesome, Meta. How well does it do with that method of getting unstuck in actual practice? How frequently do you have to "help it out"?
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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    That's awesome, Meta. How well does it do with that method of getting unstuck in actual practice? How frequently do you have to "help it out"?
    In edging mode it has a lot of problems. The border plants have grown a lot so they hang into the lawn and it hits them or gets snagged by them. If it hits something it makes a goofy "boing" sound, backs up and tries again with a little swerve. Usually it's not enough though and it hits the plant again and gives up on edging. It also tends to lose traction so it will sit there with one wheel spinning. If it detects that it's no moving long enough it will time out and call for help.

    I generally walk around with it as it edges and give it friendly nudges and hold plants out of its way.

    When it does the lawn interior it's pretty good. It gets stuck rarely, but if it does it stops and waits for help. It's just a matter of driving it out of the corner manually and setting it off again. It also has a very rare software error that for some reason causes it to drive past the perimeter wire, but it detects that and shuts down as well, which is good since it could do a lot of damage otherwise. Most of the time it just works.

    Despite the problems I think it's great. Much better than having to get all dirty doing it myself -- a definite asset in this robotic lifestyle of mine!

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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    I was actually thinking about this very problem...navigating in a free space, with an outer boarder marked out for you.

    I remember reading about a robot that made nodes every so often. Then when it got stuck, it would back up to the last node, and try again. Seams to me like if your using your own custom setup / full PC based lawnmowing rover, you could drive the perimeter with the robot the first time. It would then set up increased probabilities for finding the right solution based on the path that you originally put in...so...

    Go forward for about three feet...then expect at some point about there to fine an obstacle, and turn left...and expect to be able to go forward again for...

    Of course that wouldn't help with say things being left out in the yard, but it seams like it would help with edging and stuff where things don't change much from mow to mow. It could also give you a basis by which it could store solutions to problems. I got stuck here, and the directions file was updated to include these changes sort of deal...

    DB

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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    Some great points, Meta (and DB). Your practical experience actually changes some of what I was thinking about with Ooops mower. I'd originally be thinking about marking the perimeter with an IR laser bounced around the perimeter and anything overlapping it. Plants swaying in the wind and breaking the beam could be catastrophic! Thanks for those pointers! The mower losing traction seems like an unconscionable failure of design to me. That's disappointing, especially looking at pictures of its wheels. They really cheaped-out there, imho.

    The SLAM problem you describe DB is a really complex problem - the largest problem facing robotics today, and the one I'm most interested in solving. It gets pretty complex the more you dig into it. Add in a few hundred pounds, a few dozen foot pounds of torque, and a few pounds of spinning blades [eek] and it's a problem that is even more "for keeps".
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    Re: Robotic Lawn Mower

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    The SLAM problem you describe DB is a really complex problem - the largest problem facing robotics today, and the one I'm most interested in solving. It gets pretty complex the more you dig into it. Add in a few hundred pounds, a few dozen foot pounds of torque, and a few pounds of spinning blades [eek] and it's a problem that is even more "for keeps".
    I'm not about solving the problem, just more about doing better each time I do the same task. If the lawnmower has the sense to know when its stuck and call for help, then it should have the sense to remember how you helped it. Something that may work would be to have it drop some sort of RFID chip wherever it got stuck. sensing that chip, and pattern of movements could trigger the stored solution file.

    DB

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