This research paper in the field of mechanical engineering is about how to design an obstacle avoider robotic vehicle. The major aim and objective of this research paper are to determine a way through which an obstacle robotic vehicle can be designed by the use of hardware specifications such as an ultrasonic sensor, motor drive, microcontroller, and compiler. Robots can be defined as system packages such as automation technology, electrical, and mechanical which can be applied so as to perform numerous tasks for industrial and domestic use. An obstacle avoider robotic vehicle is the robotic vehicle that utilizes ultra-sonic sensors for its functionality.
The major reason for designing an obstacle avoider robotic vehicle is to make a vehicle track and avoid an obstacle that may be in the path in which the vehicle is moving. The detection of the object is made possible by ultrasonic sensors which are coupled with motors and the microcontroller. Presently, the obstacle avoider robot vehicle is being applied in places of work such as industries and domestic so as to replace human beings since they are characterized by high performance and are more reliable (Brijmohan, 2012). Some of the characteristics of the obstacle avoider robotic vehicle include intelligence, movement, energy, and intelligence.
What are some of the ways of designing an obstacle avoidance robotic vehicle? This research question is from the field of mechanical engineering and seeks to evaluate different methods in which an obstacle avoidance robotic vehicle can be designed and then analyzing the designs to come up with the optimum design of the robotic vehicle (Madani, 2014).
Robotics are increasingly gaining popularity in numerous fields in the past decade. Although robotics have been used in many industries for more than 40 years, the most current use of robots include the medical robots which are designed to support surgeons. The major characteristic of the robotic vehicle is the ability to power itself by the use of internal power source such as external sources such as through charging or using rechargeable batteries. The vehicle should also have the ability to move from one position to another within the specified space and this is made possible by the use of walking, rolling wheels, and propelling (Castelli, 2012).
Intelligence is also another important ability of the robotic vehicle for it to avoid an obstacle. Intelligence in machines denoted smartness. This is made possible through programming the robot with all the required instructions on how it will operate. The vehicle should also have the capability to sense its surrounding through detecting an obstacle on the path, some of the types of sensors that can be used by the vehicle to understand its surrounding include the touch sensor, chemical sensor, light sensor, and sonar sensor. The sensor that is most preferred for obstacle detection is the ultrasonic sensor because of its low cost and high ranging capability (Graefe, 2009).
Some of the software and hardware specifications that are used in designing the obstacle avoider robot vehicle include the microcontroller, power source, motor drivers, voltage regulator, and DC motor. The microcontroller is made up of input /output peripherals, memory, and processor core. Each of these components has specific role related to them that make the microcontroller be known as a computer in a chip. The DC motor is a mechanical device that is propelled by the direct current (DC) electrical power (Hutte, 2017). The voltage regulator is involved in the maintenance of voltage level to be constant. The figure below shows the design of the obstacle avoider robotic vehicle:
When the robotic vehicle is powered on, both the motors of the vehicle run normally and the vehicle moves in the forward direction. During this duration, the ultrasonic sensor determines the distance between the reflective surface on the path and the robot itself. This information is processed by the microcontroller. In case the distance is nearer, the robot scans in right or left direction for new distance using the ultrasonic sensor. During the motion of the robotic vehicle, the ultrasonic sensor transmits ultrasonic waves from the robotic vehicle in a constant manner. When an obstacle is in front of the vehicle, the ultrasonic waves from the ultrasonic sensor will be reflected by the obstacle and then the information fed to the microcontroller to enhance change in direction (Madani, 2014).
Some of the sensors that can be used in the design of the obstacle avoider robotic vehicle to enable more accurate and efficient change avoidance of the obstacle by the robotic vehicle include IR sensor, proximity sensor, and ultrasonic sensor. The ultrasonic sensor transmits the ultrasonic waves from the section of the sensor and then the sensor will again receive the reflected waves from the obstacle. The proximity sensor is used in the detection of the object on the path being followed by the vehicle (Madani, 2014). The microcontroller will then be responsible for the activation of the motor on the left-side so as to change the direction to the left. The proximity sensor has the ability to activate the robot to turn 180o in case the obstacle is not moved from the path of the robotic vehicle (Margolis, 2012).
The IR sensor is also used for the purposes of obstacle detection. The output of the signal from the sensor is conveyed to the microcontroller which enables the vehicle to move in backwards, forward, or even stops moving. The microcontroller can be programmed such that after a given duration of stoppage, the sensor can the check in case the obstacle is still in the path before proceeding with the motion if the path is clear (Rajasingh, 2010). Apart from the design of obstacle avoider, robotic vehicle explained above, some researchers have come up with a different kind of design which can automatically sense an obstacle on the path and then find a way of overcoming the obstacle without knocking the object (Seng, 2009).
In the design of this robotic vehicle that has the capability of detecting the obstacle on the way and then overtaking the obstacle, there is the use of sensor modules which detects the obstacle. The sensor signal output is conveyed to the microcontroller which will enable the robotic vehicle to either move backwards, forward or even stop motion. There are three different types of IC s that are used in this design type namely IC L293, IC 7805, and IC 7404 (Trevelyan, 2009).
The type of motor used in the design above is supposed to be rated 12V and they are positioned on both side of the vehicle. The IC 7805 is coupled to the voltage regulator which is involved in the regulation of voltage in the circuit. The pin connections of the three ICs together with other components should be done as shown in figure 2 above, these hardware components include the voltage regulator, power supply, sensor module, and motor drivers (Yogesh, 2009). When the IR sensor on the left side detects an object on the path of motion, the vehicle turns in the left direction, the same will happen in case there is an object in the right side. When the object is in both the left and right sides of the path of motion, both the left and right sensor will detect the object and the robotic vehicle will automatically halt the motion for a given duration and can either turn or remain in the position (Zomaya, 2011).
The major disadvantage of using design two is that the ICs used in the design can easily be damaged or even lost during the assembling of the hardware due to the small size of these ICs. The primary advantage of design 1 over design 2 is that the ICs used as well as the position of the motors makes it have the ability to wait until the object is removed before it can commence the motion or even change the direction in case the obstacle is not removed from the path after a certainly specified duration. The few numbers of hardware components used in design 1 make it more advantageous than design 2 since it is easier and less complicated to implement during the process of designing (Siegwart, 2011).
The research gaps in the two designs of the obstacle avoider robotic vehicle are that the researchers failed to explain how the two designs above can be implemented to function like the voice-controlled robotic vehicles which are currently being used in the medical field to perform medical surgeries. The two designs can be improved by incorporating other types of sensors so that the robotic vehicle does not only detect the presence of obstacles, but also water, light, and extreme temperatures (Graefe, 2009).
Robotics vehicles are currently being used in industries as a result of their reliability and high performance compared to the humans. A robot is normally a combination of physical components such as motors and computational intelligence which involves programmed instructions and can perform a work with guidance or automatically (Madani, 2014). An obstacle avoider robotic vehicle is used in the detection of obstacles and preventing the collision. The detection of the obstacle is the basic requirement for this robotic vehicle. The robot acquires information from the area surrounding through the sensors mounted on the robot (Brijmohan, 2012).
The analysis of the obstacle avoider robotic vehicle can be done depending on the components making both the designs and also considering the future development potential and cost. Out of the two designs of obstacle avoider robotic vehicle, the analysis of the hardware and software requirements can be analyzed in the table below:
Voltage regulator present
Voltage regulator present
Use 8051 microcontroller
Use IC L293D and 7404
A single sensor module
2 IR sensor modules
From the analysis above, it is clear that the best design for an obstacle avoidance robotic vehicle is design 1 due to its low cost of components and ease of implementation. Design 2 requires more ICs and sensor modules which adds to its cost despite being more effective than design 1. The obstacle avoidance robots are currently being applied in dangerous areas where the penetration of human can be dangerous, used in household work such as automatic vacuum cleaning than can clean the room automatically and also applied in almost all mobile robot navigation system (Siegwart, 2011)
Majority of the components used in the development of the designs are expected to change in future drastically as a result of development in technology. The future microcontrollers are expected to be reduced size an ability to control numerous devices and processes. The power consumption, processing power, and speed of the ICs are expected to change in future making the future robots to be more efficient and effective (Wilfong, 2012).
The enormous quantity of work has been carried out regarding the obstacle avoidance robotic vehicle. In this paper, two methodologies have been reviewed and analyzed with their demerits and merits under numerous functional and operational strategies. An obstacle avoidance robots design requires the integration of sensors according to their functionality. The hardware specifications that are required for the design of this robotic vehicle include an ultrasonic sensor, motor drive, microcontroller, and compiler. Despite the present researchers in this field have made obstacle avoidance robots a ubiquitous phenomenon, it requires to acquire great focus in relevant application areas such as tabletop screens, artificial nurses, wheelchairs, and home appliances.
Brijmohan, S., 2012. Comparison of Three Obstacle Avoidance Methods for an Autonomous Guided Vehicle. Perth: University of Cincinnati.
Castelli, P., 2012. Recent Advances in Robot Kinematics. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
Graefe, V., 2009. Intelligent Robots and Systems. Colorado: Elsevier.
Hutte, M., 2017. Field and Service Robotics:. London: Springer.
Karray, F., 2014. Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 2. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
Madani, K., 2014. Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics. California: Springer.
Margolis, M., 2012. Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot. New York: O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Rajasingh, J., 2010. Lane Detection and Obstacle Avoidance in Mobile Robots. Perth: University of Cincinnati.
Seng, H., 2009. Study of Sonar Sensors for Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance of an Underwater Robotics Vehicle. London: IEEE.
Siegwart, R., 2011. Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots. California: MIT Press.
Trevelyan, J., 2009. Experimental Robotics VI. Michigan: Springer Science & Business Media.
Wilfong, G., 2012. Autonomous Robot Vehicles. Chicago: Springer Science & Business Media.
Yogesh, S., 2009. A Path Planning and Obstacle Avoidance Algorithm for an Autonomous Robotic Vehicle. Colorado: the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Zomaya, A., 2011. Obstacle Avoidance in Multi-robot Systems. Melbourne: World Scientific.