How Lidar Improves Navigation In Robot Vacuums
When you go shopping these days, it’s hard not to notice the trend of smart home appliances, and one of the most popular smart gadgets is undoubtedly the robotic vacuum cleaner. Since its first launch two decades ago, the demand has been growing rapidly as many people value its convenience and efficiency in cleaning floors.
To make robotic vacuums smart, an important component is the navigation system, which helps the device to avoid obstacles and plan the best cleaning route. One technology that has significantly improved the navigation system is Light Detection and Ranging (lidar) . Originally being used in aerospace, lidar technology provides precise mapping and obstacle detection , allowing lidar mapping robot vacuums to navigate more efficiently. In this article, we will explore this technology and how it improves navigation in automatic vacuums .
Lidar, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and create precise three-dimensional maps of an environment. It was originally used in the aerospace industry to measure the distance of objects in space from Earth. In robot floor cleaners, lidar technology first appeared in 2010 and has since become a standard feature in high-end models. Lidar works by sending laser beams that bounce off surfaces in a room and return to the sensor. The sensor then measures the time it takes for the laser to return, and translates it into accurate distance measurements for mapping .
To provide a complete picture of the environment, lidar technology works together with other sensors like cameras and laser sensors: cameras provides visual information, while laser sensors collects data on the shape and location of objects, and lidar precisely measures the distances.
Compared to other auto vacuums in the market, such as the ‘Bump and Run’ models that use physical contact with objects in a room to map, robot vacuums with lidar offers a more accurate and comprehensive map of the environment.
The ‘Bump and Run’ robot floor cleaners move forward and bump into objects, then change direction and continue cleaning, which often result in incomplete mapping and missed spots. Lidar robot vacuums, on the other hand, are able to detect small objects that can be easily missed by cameras or other sensors, like cords and toys. Lidar robot vacuum and mops also function well in low-light environments, making it a reliable technology for robot vacuums to use in any room.
Among all the smart robot vacuums on the market, DEEBOT lidar robot vacuum cleaners by ECOVACS have been a stand-out from the competition with innovative technology and powerful features. Here are three premium DEEBOT robot vacuums utilising lidar technology:
One of the best lidar navigation robot vacuums on the DEEBOT line, the DEEBOT X1 OMNI from ECOVACS features a totally hand-free experience with the industry-first, all-in-one OMNI Station. It can automatically separate clean water and sewage, empty the dustbin, refill water and rapid dry the mop head with hot air, ready for the next round of cleaning. It is the first ECOVACS vacuum robot with built-in YIKO voice assistant , which you can simply activate your smart robot with 'OK YIKO'. The unique OZMO™ Turbo 2.0 can rotate the mop up to 180 times per minute for deep cleaning, while the suction power is increased by 230% to 5,000Pa for a lasting clean. Not to mention, it is designed by world-renowned industrial design firm, Jacob Jensen , to exude timeless beauty and seamless functionality.
The DEEBOT T20 OMNI by ECOVACS is an all-in-one lidar robotic vacuum and mop. This model features a new-generation automatic mop lifting that can clean seamlessly between hard floors and carpets. The OZMO™ Turbo pressurised spinning mop offers premium scrubbing capability, and with a maximum suction power of 6,000Pa1, it offers more than 3x the strength of most standard robot vacuums . The robot vacuum with lidar also cleans itself with the OMNI station, and can be operated with YIKO, or other smart home devices like Google Assistant or Alexa for hands-free control.
The DEEBOT T10 PLUS is another premium robotic vacuum with lidar powered by AI. Other than the premium features including YIKO voice assistant, powerful suction and auto-clean station, it has an advanced AI processor to identify and avoid obstacles on the floor with AIVI 3.0 Technology. The on-board 960P astrophotography camerahas a wide recognition range, enabling it to identify and capture clear images of static and moving objects even in the dark. The new Starlight front-facing camera also allows you to view your home in real time if you need to check in on your children or pets. It can run up to 260 minutes on a single charge 2, and it has a built-in air refresher that leaves your home smelling fresh and clean.
Lidar technology is truly a game changer for smart vacuum cleaners. Here are the benefits that lidar brought in advancing robot vacuums.
From aerospace to self-driving cars, lidar technology has been proven effective in measuring accurate distances and creating precise maps of the environment. Unlike ‘Bump and Run’ models that rely on physical contact with objects, robot vacuums with lidar navigate around obstacles more efficiently, minimising the chance of missing spots. Lidar robot vacuums also detect small objects other sensors may miss and navigate more smoothly.
Under the TrueMapping system, robot vacuums with lidar can navigate and detect obstacles in real-time, then adjust the path and avoid collisions accordingly, reducing the need for you to monitor the cleaning process all the time.
Smart vacuum cleaners with laser mapping can accurately plan a faster cleaning route with more coverage, ensuring no corners and space are left uncleaned. You can also pair it with smart home devices like Google Home’s Assistant or Amazon Echo’s Alexa to enjoy a complete hands-free control experience.
Lidar sends laser beams to collect data, which can detect objects as small as 2mm like cables and remotes, allowing the robotic vacuum cleaner to avoid them more effectively, even in low-light conditions.
After creating a map of the room with lidar, you can use the ECOVACS HOME app to set virtual boundaries on the interactive map and designate specific areas for cleaning. For example, instruct the lidar navigation robot vacuum to avoid the expensive rug in the living room or pay extra attention around the kitchen counter after cooking.
With better object detection, lidar sensor robot vacuums are less likely to get stuck on objects or in tight areas. Less ‘babysitting’ the vacuums, more time for other important work.
While lidar technology is smart and reliable, let’s talk about what you can do to optimise the efficiency of robot vacuums with lidar.
Keep the sensor clean and free from dust and debris, to help optimise the lidar mapping robot vacuum’s performance. Check the user manual, which sometimes indicates the lidar sensor’s location on the device’s body.
Although lidar can detect obstacles and work around them, removing objects or clutter from the room can definitely help to prevent obstacles from interfering with the lidar robot vacuum cleaner's navigation, as well as faster cleaning process.
Potential issues with lidar sensors include false obstacle detection, where the sensor may mistakenly identify dirt as an obstacle and avoid cleaning it, or vice versa. Other issues include inaccurate mapping, interference of reflective surfaces, complex room layouts, or sensor calibration issues. If you encounter any issues with the lidar mapping robot vacuum, it is recommended to refer to the user manual for troubleshooting tips, or contact customer service for assistance.
ECOVACS is devoted to use laser and visual sensing technologies, including lidar, to enhance the environmental perception of robot vacuums. The top-of-the-range TrueMapping navigation systemuses lidar technology and laser sensors to detect the environment from large furnitures down to objects as small as 2mm, enabling it to plan an efficient cleaning path that minimises missed or repeated spots. The interactive map on the mobile ECOVACS HOME app also allows you to fully customise the cleaning settings, selecting target areas that require extra attention.
What is lidar in robot vacuums?
Lidar technology is originally used in aerospace and self-driving cars. In smart vacuums, lidar technology is used to provide precise measurements of the objects and obstacles in the room.
What is the difference between lidar and cameras in robot vacuums?
While cameras provide visual information about the environment, lidar sends laser beams that bounce off surfaces in a room and return to the sensor. The sensor then measures the time it takes for the laser to return, and translates it into accurate distance measurements for mapping.
What are the advantages of lidar in vacuum robots?
It enhanced floor mapping by providing real-time, accurate measurements of the room. It allows the robotic vacuums to work more efficiently around obstacles, even in a low-light environment.
- 6,000Pa: This data comes from ECOVACS laboratory. The suction power of DEEBOT T20 OMNI can reach 6,000Pa.
- 260 minutes: This data comes from ECOVACS laboratory. With a 5,200mAh battery, one charge powers the latest DEEBOT models for up to 260 minutes of working time (under standard suction power setting and working on a hard floor). Actual results may vary according to the home environment.