Matsushita Electric Industrial is developing a vacuum cleaning robot for household use.
Through the use of an on-board control system, the new robot can optimise its movements to match the shape of a room, the type of floor and the amount of dust. The robot operates in a crossover pattern, moving vertically then horizontally around a room avoiding any obstacles in the process
Inside the robot, an array of sensors detect the distance between the robot and obstacles, whilst a gyro in the main body and a sensor in the caster wheel are responsible for maintaining its direction. Another set of sensors prevent the robot from falling down stairs.The running speed of the robot as well as the suction power can be modified depending on the amount of dust on the floor.
Matsushita claims that the new vacuum cleaning robot can operate for 55 minutes on one charge, slightly more than conventional cordless vacuum cleaners.
Prototypes of the machine will be exhibited at Barrier Free 2002 to be held International Exhibition Centre, Osaka, Japan from April 11th to 13th 2002.
Field testing in real Japanese households will begin in May.