If you’ve ever watched a robot vacuum maneuvering around a room, you’ve probably wondered how it works. At times these machines appear to have a mind of their own and, in a way, they do. So what does go on in their robotic minds? How do robot vacuums do the things they do?
A Robot’s Senses
Before a robot vacuum can do anything, it needs to understand its world. Much like a person uses their senses to gather information about their surroundings, a robot vacuum uses their sensors to “see” what is around them.
Obstacle sensors scan the area with high-precision lasers, calculating distance to potential impediments. Once the Roborock S5 identifies a nearby obstacle, it will slow down to avoid causing damage to walls or furniture. The obstacle sensor works in unison with the bumper. This part of the Roborock vacuum has a pressure sensor that helps the S5 define exactly where obstacles are.
The has multiple cliff sensors at the front. These robotic eyes look down at the floor to detect large drops, such as stairs. If a “cliff” is detected, the S5 will move away from the edge to prevent falling. A wall sensor is located on the right-hand side of the Roborock vacuum to monitor its proximity to the wall, ensuring that the vacuum is at the ideal distance for its side brush to work effectively.
The Roborock vacuum has some added sensors that prevent it from getting stuck or causing damage. A pressure-sensitive height sensor alerts the S5 if it’s attempting to go underneath furniture that is too low. Light sensors on the wheels monitor wheel rotation to calculate distance. Additional wheel sensors are there to detect whether the wheels are losing contact with the ground, so that the Roborock S5 can shut off power to the wheels and allow itself to be moved safely.
Robot Vacuum Will Make A Map
With the use of its sensors and complex algorithms, a robot vacuum can create a virtual map of the space around it. The Roborock S5 uses its laser, along with the SLAM algorithm, to navigate. SLAM is a complex robot mapping process that allows the machine to create a map while simultaneously figuring out where it is located within that space.
Using the map it creates, the Roborock vacuum begins by cleaning the border of the room. Next, the Roborock S5 works through the center of the space in an s-shaped pattern. This is a much more thorough and efficient approach than random bumping or relying on a zig-zag pattern.
The Roborock vacuum’s mapping system allows it to divide large areas into virtual chunks for better performance. Because the Roborock S5 tracks its cleaning route on the virtual map it creates, the unit is able to know when every area has been cleaned. Once it establishes that the job is done, it navigates itself to the charging station.