(more how to make your own 1: 8 scale paper robot model)
by: Joan Lääne, Mapping Specialist, Starship Technologies
Every year in September, when the new school year begins, many first graders are a little afraid of the unknown. Not only about going back to school and the new people they will meet, but also about the journey they have to take each day. They must learn and remember how to navigate the world and the path to and from their classroom on their own. This can be facilitated by a parent who can accompany their child on the first round trips to familiarize them with the path, usually pointing out some interesting landmarks along the way, such as tall or lighted buildings or signs on the path. path. Eventually, it will be trivial for the child to go to school and remember the way. The child will have formed a mental map of the world and how to navigate it.
Starship Technologies provides a convenient last mile delivery service with fleets of sidewalk delivery robots roaming the world every day. Our robots have made more than 100,000 deliveries. To get from point A to point B, robots have to plan a route in advance, which in turn requires some sort of map. Even though there are already many publicly available mapping systems such as Google Maps and OpenStreetMaps, they have the limitation of being designed for car navigation and mainly focus on car road mapping. Since these delivery robots move on sidewalks, they need an accurate map of where it is safe to move on sidewalks and where to cross streets, just like a child needs a map. to get to school safely and on time every day. So how is this map generated?
The first step in creating a map for delivery robots is to locate the area of interest and generate a preliminary map (2D map) above the satellite imagery in the form of simple interconnected lines representing the sidewalks (green), crossings (red) and alleys. (purple) as shown in the image below.
The system treats this map as a graph of nodes and can be used to generate a route from point A to point B. The system can identify the shortest and safest path for the robot to take and also calculate the route. distance and time it would take. to navigate this route. The advantage of this process is that everything can be done remotely before the robots physically arrive at the site.
The next step is to show the robots what the world is like. Similar to the parent-child analogy, robots need a bit of a hand grip the first time they explore an area. When the robot rolls for the first time, cameras and a multitude of sensors on the robot collect data about the world around it. These include thousands of lines that come from sensing the edges of different features, for example buildings, street light poles, and roofs. The server can then create a 3D world map offline from these lines which the robot can then use. Like the child, the robot now has a model of the world with guide poles and can understand where it is at any time.