A Complete Overview of Robot Vacuum Navigation

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If you find yourself scratching your head and asking some of the same questions, what is SLAM navigation? What is gyroscopic navigation? Then you have come to the right page! We will show you our comprehensive overview below.

While early robot vacuums only had random navigation where the vacuum simply plowed through your home, bumping into things until they cleaned all the floors they could reach, today's robot vacuums have evolved to form a very detailed map of your home and intelligently map out the most efficient and thorough cleaning path to clean all your floors.

Depending on your budget and needs, choose the right robot vacuum for you. Here's what you need to know about the various types of robot vacuum cleaners for navigation and information.

Random Navigation

Gyroscopic navigation is the simplest robotic vacuum cleaner. This type of robot vacuum is usually equipped with sensors only. You may have seen this type of navigation in the earliest versions of robot vacuums, and of course, the cheapest robot vacuums now use this type of navigation

This type of robot vacuum relies on sensors to help them move around your home and to solve some potential problems, such as falling down stairs.

The following are some commonly used sensors.

  • Anti-drop sensors. Almost all robotic vacuums are equipped with anti-fall sensors. These sensors prevent them from falling down the stairs.
  • Obstacle sensors. Robotic vacuums equipped with obstacle sensors can avoid obstacles as small as shoes or toys. Obstacle sensors are usually placed on the vacuum's bumper and will guide it through or out of the way of obstacles.
  • Wall sensors. These sensors use infrared light to detect walls and then clean them along the borders. The robot will do this effectively without hitting the wall.
  • Carpet sensors. Some robot vacuums are equipped with carpet sensors, which identify where you may have carpet in your home. And increase the vacuum power on the carpet, in which case more suction may be needed to remove all the debris.
  • Optical sensors. Optical sensors are located on the wheels of the robot vacuum. They tell the robot how far it has traveled. They can also use optical sensors to determine how many times the wheels have rotated. This way, the robot knows how far it has traveled and can help it navigate through space more thoroughly, plan its route, and know when it needs to return to base to recharge.
  • etc.

Gyroscope Navigation

Gyroscope and accelerometer sensors calculate the distance and direction of objects around the house. Collision sensors are mainly used for identification. A vacuum using this technology is affordable. However, it cannot create accurate maps or navigate as well as vacuum robots using LIDAR and camera-based technology.

Laser navigation

The navigation used by the newest and most advanced robotic vacuums on the market. Typically using LIDAR, multiple lasers are used to illuminate objects in a room, and the reflected light pulses are then measured to determine the robot's position relative to obstacles in space.

This type of robotic vacuum cleaner is able to map out a space, including the distance between objects in the room. Using this map, it can create the most efficient path, ensuring that it reaches every inch of your home and does not duplicate its efforts. It can use no-go zones to prevent the robot vacuum cleaner from going to places it shouldn't.

How to choose a robot vacuum cleaner you need?

Now that you know about the various types of navigation available for robotic vacuum cleaners, you will no doubt want to know how to choose the right navigation for your needs. Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision.

  • Cost. The first question you need to ask yourself is how much you are willing to spend on a robotic vacuum cleaner. If cost is not a factor, then we would recommend that you choose a LIDAR vacuum, which is the best navigation on the market, and there is really no advantage to choosing a different type of navigation other than cost.
  • Complexity of the space. The more complex the space you live in, the more important it is to choose a robot with excellent navigation.
  • Is it acceptable for a robot vacuum cleaner to destroy furniture?
    The cheapest robot vacuum cleaners navigate with a "until you find the obstacle" mentality. While many of these robots do have collision sensors to prevent them from hitting things, they are not nearly as good at avoiding obstacles as robots with advanced laser navigation.

If you're not worried about the sound of a robot bouncing around your home or a few scratches on your furniture, you can save a lot of money with a robot that only has obstacle avoidance instead of laser navigation.

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