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Research field of mobile robot (indoor mobile robot)

Before I start writing, I clarify that all of the following are my own opinions. I hope that other people will not be harmed with this article.

When classified based on the traveling space of the mobile robot, a robot that runs indoors is called an indoor robot. As interest in applying and commercializing robots is increasing these days, the development of service robots is increasing as one of its applications, and articles that various types of service robots have been applied are often seen. Usually, service robots are robots developed for the purpose of guiding and assisting work indoors and mainly operate indoors. In addition, as the need for disaster robots or reconnaissance robots increases, many scenarios in which robots are introduced indoors are being studied. Therefore, various studies are being conducted to safely move the robot indoors.

Research on indoor driving service robots (hereinafter referred to as indoor robots) seems to be paying much attention to the precise location of robots these days. Unlike outdoor robots, indoor robots cannot use GPS, so it is difficult to determine the exact location. Basically, you can estimate the position of the indoor robot using sensors (encoder, inertial sensor, etc.) attached to the robot, but there is a disadvantage of accumulating errors. In other words, estimating the position of a robot using these internally mounted sensors is similar to estimating that a person will be somewhere by closing his eyes and counting his steps. This position estimation error can lead to very bad results in the operation of the indoor robot. Therefore, there are many studies on this location estimation recently.

Among them, the outstanding research result is SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping). It is to estimate the current location by matching the surrounding environment of the mobile robot with the map that it has. Of course, this algorithm also generates maps. In other words, if you use SLAM, you can create a map even in an environment you don't know at all. Match your location to the created map and correct the location estimation error of the internal sensor.

Another finding is to create an indoor GPS. It is sometimes referred to as Indoor GPS and IGS. (Personally, GPS is a global positioning system.. There may be some problems in terms of it..) This method is a method of building a system such as GPS indoors. In fact, this method seems to have been used as a method of estimating the location of a service robot at Incheon International Airport (I haven't seen it now). With the development of sensor network equipment, a number of sensors are attached to the wall or ceiling of an indoor space and give a role like a satellite. And the robot running below estimates its current position by measuring the intensity of the radio wave or arrival time acquired from the sensor.

In my personal opinion, I think that there is more interest and application of SLAM worldwide, but research on IGS is also continuing.

In the field of indoor robots, not only the problem of location estimation, but also the field of corridor movement and obstacle avoidance using a vision system are being studied continuously. As time passes, efforts to prevent accidents by distinguishing and avoiding humans are continuing. In addition, in order to accelerate the application of indoor robots, room number recognition and elevator recognition in the corridor are being studied.In fact, there was an indoor mobile robot competition called Grand Challenge in Korea hosted by the Pohang Robot Research Institute.

Until now, we have mainly talked about algorithmic approaches. From now on, I want to explain the structural approach of indoor robots. These structural approaches are not limited to indoor robots as they are being studied not only indoors but also outdoors, but as mentioned earlier, as the interest in reconnaissance robots increases... I will write them in the research field of indoor robots.

There will be many studies, but the most well-known types of them are probably the robots using a caterpillar. These robots were the first to be developed and commercialized so far, and they will be the most common robots. Among these robots, the most well-known is the reconnaissance robot made by iRobot, and I personally think that Kist's Rob Heads ( is the most famous in Korea... this type of robot Robots have been shown through news and various media, and are actually being introduced and used by the military and government.

In addition, a robot that has a cylindrical shape and uses wheels mounted on both sides is also being researched. These robots jump over obstacles such as stairs. It is difficult to describe in words, so I attach an image. The image below is a robot developed in the United States.

If this type of robot is being studied at Korean universities, the difference with the US lies in its jumping mechanism.

In addition to this, there are various types of robotic structures, but we have described remarkable results and interesting structures.

Other types of structures will be described later.

So far, we have looked at the research fields of major indoor robots. From my subjective point of view, it seems that the main focus is mainly on location recognition and obstacle detection. Probably, when these studies start to be organized, research on relationships with humans will be in full swing.

I hope this helps anyone who is interested in robots.

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