Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed Robat, a fully autonomous robot that uses echolocation like a bat to move through new environments.
Robat includes a biologically plausible signal processing approach to extract information about an object's position and identity, a feature that makes the system unique among other attempts to apply sonar to robotics. The system contains an ultrasonic speaker that mimics the mouth of a real bat and produces frequency modulated chirps similar to those of bats. In addition, Robat is equipped with two ultrasonic microphones that mimic ears. The robot uses an artificial neural network to delineate the borders of objects it encounters and classify them.
During testing, Robat was able to move autonomously through novel outdoor environments and map them using only sound. The researchers also found that the robot was able to classify objects with a 68% balanced accuracy, and to determine obstacles with a 70% accuracy.
From R&D Magazine
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