Sensors & Transducers


3D vision for service robots

April 2021 Sensors & Transducers

With its high precision, reliability, and compact size, the R2300 multi-layer scanner tackles mobile service robot applications in an efficient manner. It is based on pulse ranging technology (PRT), the innovative, direct distance measurement method developed by Pepperl+Fuchs. A high-performance laser diode sends out short, high-energy light pulses, which are reflected by the target object and detected again by a receiver element in the sensor. The distance to the target object is calculated from the time it takes for the pulses of light to travel from the emitter to the receiver.

The superiority of PRT over processes with light sources that emit permanently, lies in the up to 1000 times higher energy content of a single pulse. This results in an ideal measuring range for applications including service robotics. Starting just a few centimetres from the lens, the R2300 can detect objects on black surfaces up to 4 metres away and up to 10 metres away on white surfaces. The measuring rate of 90 kHz and a high angular resolution of 0,1° guarantee measurement accuracy and detection reliability, which gives service robots a high level of vision. Combined with the precise infrared light spot typical of lasers, the R2300 is able to detect delicate object structures and contours. The resilience of the PRT against extraneous light, reflections and other noise pulses prevents the autonomous mobile service personnel from becoming disoriented and ensures high availability.

Easy integration and commissioning

Most service robots are space-saving and manoeuvrable, a design to which sensors and other vehicle components must adapt. The compact design of the R2300 – with a height of just 58 mm – offers the required high level of space efficiency. The sensor measures in four levels simultaneously, providing 3D functionality that would otherwise require multiple sensors, and therefore additional space and wiring. The R2300 can also be electrically integrated into a service robot’s control system quickly and safely. The measured data, including angle, distance, and reflectivity, are output via the sensor’s Ethernet interface in a manner that supports automation.

Experts predict that in a few years, mobile service robots will have a much more significant presence as flexible assistants for day-to-day tasks and situations in public areas. The R2300 is an important milestone on this path.


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