Why We Made LiDAR Mower Neomow X
Motivated by Market Demand
People who live overseas and own homes with attached courtyards have a strong need for lawn maintenance. Typically, there are two traditional approaches to maintaining a lawn:
- Option 1: Hiring a professional lawn maintenance crew.
- Option 2: Purchasing handheld mowing device and manually maintaining the lawn.
Drawbacks and Restrictions of Mowing Robots that Require Perimeter Wires
Driven by market demand and technological advancements, mowing robots that require perimeter wires are starting to gain attention from the public. However, as this type of product continues to develop and become more widespread, certain issues are gradually being exposed. The main problems associated with these robots are as follows:
- Cumbersome deployment and maintenance. Prior to use, such mowing robots require the installation of perimeter wires around the lawn, leading to higher machine learning costs. Over time, there is a risk of the perimeter wires breaking and requiring repair using a splicer, or it may need to be redeployed altogether. Additionally, due to the seasonal nature of lawn maintenance tasks, users may need to remove and store the device and deployed wires during periods when mowing is not required, resulting in the need for reinstallation when needed again.
- Unorganized mowing model resulting in poor coverage and inefficiency. Due to technological and cost limitations, most mowing robots that require perimeter wires rely on GPS localization solutions, and some may not have any localization solutions at all. This technology does not ensure accurate positioning of the mowing robot, leading to disorganized mowing patterns and reduced coverage. Consequently, the efficiency of the robot is compromised, and the cut lawn often exhibits poor aesthetics with messy mowing marks or tire tracks.
- Inability to accurately avoid obstacles and lack of safety features. The majority of mowing robots that require perimeter wires lack obstacle avoidance sensors and can only detect objects through collision. This means users must pre-mark obstacles on the lawn with a perimeter wire to enable the robot to avoid them without disrupting its operation. This necessitates complex preparation for deployment and does not fully guarantee the safety of others or pets present on the lawn.
Limitations of Current No Perimeter Wire Mowing Robots
1. RTK + Obstacle Avoidance Sensor (the heat solution on the market)
- Environmental Interference
- Geographic Constraints
- Cumbersome Deployment
The lawn mowing robot with an RTK solution requires the deployment of a base station in the usage scenario. However, this process is associated with certain challenges. The installation location of the base station must meet strict requirements, including having a strong signal reception, in order to ensure the stable operation of the device.
2. Vision Solution: V-SLAM
- Privacy and Security
- Environmental Interference
- Periodic Maintenance Required
- Limited Mowing Area
3. UWB+ Vision Solution
- Cumbersome Deployment
- Heightened Maintenance Complexity
UWB base stations necessitate a consistent power source and frequent upkeep, entailing the regular replacement of batteries. This increases the operational costs associated with such products, making them more expensive to utilize.
- Restricted Mowing Area
The UWB solution's approach to covering the mowing area relies on deploying a higher number of base stations. However, in cases where the lawn is expansive, this deployment demands can be inconvenient for users and may not guarantee complete coverage of the entire lawn.
- Disruption to daily life
The need to deploy additional UWB base stations to achieve extended mowing coverage can significantly disrupt the user's regular routine. The increased presence of base stations may interfere with the user's normal utilization of the lawn and hinder their overall quality of life.
Advantages of Our Solution
- Reduced Environmental Constraints
- Easy Deployment and Operation
- Enhanced Coverage with No Missed Corners
- Suitable for Various Lawn Sizes
- Available to Install the Charging Station Indoors
- Improved Reliability and Safety in Obstacle Avoidance System
More About the LiDAR SLAM Solution
LiDAR SLAM is a highly advanced and well-established navigation and positioning solution within the robotics industry. It is widely recognized as a mainstream technology in the field. The acronym SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, representing the core functionality of this solution.
Map-building can be defined as the process in which a robot utilizes its sensors to perceive and accurately represent the physical environment, creating a map that serves as the foundation for the robot's recognition and understanding of its surroundings. The map generated accordingly enables the robot to navigate and interact with the physical world effectively.
How the LiDAR on Neomow X Works: During the map-building process of the remotely controlled robot, the LiDAR emits detection beams that cover a 360° area around it. These beams are reflected upon encountering objects in the physical environment. The LiDAR's receiver captures these reflected beams and measures the time difference between their emission and reception. By calculating this time difference, the LiDAR determines the precise distance between the robot and the object, creating a 3-dimensional point cloud data map. This point cloud data map captures detailed characteristics of the physical environment, serving as a valuable database for subsequent robot navigation and positioning.
In addition to its mapping capabilities, Neomow X possesses the ability to update the map in real-time. When changes occur in the environment, the robot can analyse and compare the data to determine if an update to the map is necessary. By incorporating real-time updates to the map data, Neomow X achieves enhanced navigation and mowing capabilities with greater accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Positioning, in simple terms, refers to the robot's ability to determine its location within a map by comparing the features of the actual environment with a known map.
During operation, the LiDAR on Neomow X detects environmental features in real time and compares them with data from known maps to achieve accurate positioning. Additionally, the robot continuously performs data matching, allowing for real-time positioning adjustments and calibrations whenever necessary.
To achieve independent and automated positioning, navigation, and organized mowing in a lawn, a mowing robot must pass the following two challenges:
1. Accurate Positioning
The first crucial aspect is for the robot to determine its exact location on the lawn, which aligns with the positioning capability discussed earlier. Upon powering on and activation, Neomow X autonomously collects LIDAR data and compares it with a pre-built map. Through this process, it achieves automatic self-positioning, accurately determining its location on the lawn.
2. Navigation and Path Planning
Another crucial aspect is for the robot to determine its target location and how to reach it. In the case of a lawn mowing robot, its primary objective is to cover the entire lawn effectively. This means that the robot's target location consists of a series of positions that ensure comprehensive coverage of the lawn.
Neomow X utilizes its current location and lawn characteristics to plan an efficient mowing path. It then follows this planned path from its current location to mow the lawn. In the event of encountering an obstacle during operation, Neomow X combines the target location with the direction of the planned path to navigate around the obstacle. This allows the robot to maintain task efficiency while flexibly avoiding obstacles and ensuring effective mowing operations.
Understanding Multiple Obstacle Avoidance System
Neomow X incorporates multiple obstacle avoidance strategies, focusing on three main approaches:
1. LiDAR Detection and Obstacle Avoidance
Neomow X adopts a high-precision, 360° large field of view LiDAR module. This advanced feature enables the robot to detect and locate obstacles in all directions during its operation. By accurately sensing the distribution of obstacles and swiftly determining their positions, Neomow X can efficiently plan an avoidance path in response to the detected obstacles.
2. Visual Recognition and Obstacle Avoidance
In addition to LiDAR obstacle avoidance, Neomow X incorporates visual recognition capabilities to address challenges posed by low, short, or nearby obstacles. While LiDAR primarily handles obstacle detection, the robot requires visual information to further differentiate obstacles and develop effective avoidance strategies. To accomplish this, a vision camera is positioned at the front of Neomow X. The camera dynamically captures the robot's movements and provides visual recognition of encountered low and short obstacles during operation. Based on the identified categories of these obstacles, Neomow X intelligently develops obstacle avoidance strategies. For instance, if an animal is detected, the robot will steer clear of it. If the obstacle is low or short but can be crossed safely, the robot will attempt to navigate across it, ensuring smooth mowing operation.
3. Anti-collision Bar for Additional Physical Protection
In certain situations where LiDAR or vision sensors may fail to detect obstacles, additional physical protection is crucial. The wide-angle (144°) anti-collision bar strategically placed on Neomow X serves as a last line of defence. This wide-angle anti-collision bar is positioned in the forward direction. In the event of a collision, it promptly detects the impact and triggers a response to avoid the obstacle, ensuring the safety of both the device and its surroundings.